Saturday 23 September 2017

Somebody could be killed Quinn chief warns after attacks

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The chief executive of the Quinn Group has warned someone could be killed after he was personally targeted in the latest of a string of attacks on the business.





Paul O'Brien claimed a line had been crossed after windows on his home were smashed and a car burnt out in an arson attack on Monday night.



The chief executive, appointed after former billionaire Sean Quinn was stripped of his mighty empire in April, said he believed he knew who was behind the attacks.



"It is unprecedented that it is a personal attack. The previous attacks have been on the property of the business," Mr O'Brien said.



"When you go down the route of a personal attack, it's a much different matter. It's crossing the line."



The Quinn Group - founded by Sean Quinn, once Ireland's richest man - condemned what it described as a terrorist attack.



A BMW jeep in the driveway of Mr O`Brien`s house in the Foxlodge Woods housing estate in Ratoath, Co Meath, was burnt out at about 11pm on Monday, with the front of the O'Brien home and a neighbouring house also damaged.



The chief executive - abroad on holiday with his wife and three young children - said he believed the attacks were an attempt to strike fear and force the new management out.



Mr O'Brien took over at the head of the Quinn Group after Anglo Irish Bank appointed a share receiver and controversially stripped Mr Quinn of his mighty cross-border business empire.



The nationalised bank seized the tycoon's prized company as it chased five billion euro (£4.4 billion) of family and company debts caused mainly by catastrophic share deals.



The deal ensured the vast majority of the 4,200 jobs in the manufacturing and insurance wings were safe for at least five years.



Since then, vandals have targeted Quinn property at sites across Northern Ireland, causing tens of thousands of euros worth of damage, with trucks and diggers set alight and an electricity pole cut down.



"As the events of Monday night have shown, it is escalating to a very dangerous level where somebody has the potential to be killed," Mr O'Brien said.



The chief executive said he had an idea who was behind the attacks but had to be careful over the security of his family.



He added: "You'd be fairly hard-nosed to say you wouldn't be scared. But I'd be a strong character.



"I don't think you can let people face you down."

Press Association

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