Business Irish

Saturday 22 July 2017

US investors meet Sean Quinn as board tensions grow

MEETING: Sean Quinn. Gerry Mooney
MEETING: Sean Quinn. Gerry Mooney
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

American investors in a manufacturing firm that was once owned by Sean Quinn held a private summit with him in Dublin last week as boardroom tensions escalated.

The US investors flew into town for a Quinn Industrial Holdings Ltd board meeting on Thursday, but also held a private side-meeting with Sean Quinn in the city.

It is believed that the former tycoon was asked to settle his business differences with the management team who now run the company.

The US investors are also believed to have hired a Dublin public-relations firm.

The Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O'Reilly, met Sean Quinn at his office in Ballyconnell last month.

A spokesperson for the bishop said the meeting was personal. Sources said there were growing concerns in the community over the bitter fallout of the tensions between Sean Quinn and his former management team.

Separately, the Northern Ireland businessmen, Ernie Fisher and John Bosco O'Hagan, who are part of the consortium to buy back Sean Quinn's businesses, and John McCartin, the chairman and Fine Gael councillor, sent an internal email, appealing for the criminal damage to stop.

The email, which was sent late last month and signed by the three men, "implored all parties to focus on rebuilding broken reputations, desist from criminal damage threats and defamation and look to a productive future.

"We note with sadness, the sabotage, defamation and intimidation directed at the business and its senior management over the last few months.

"It is our belief that this has done immense damage to Sean Quinn and his family."

A leaked email revealed that Sean Quinn, who lost control of his empire to Anglo Irish Bank, is in a battle for control of the company that is run by his former management team and backed by American investors.

According to the email, Quinn is unhappy with his role as an adviser to the business and wants to acquire ownership in QIHL.

The tensions have coincided with the resumption of attacks and criminal damage to businesses in Cavan and Fermanagh that used to be owned by Sean Quinn.

Workers at a wind farm previously owned by Sean Quinn have received a number of death threats.

Cross-border police investigations are continuing into threats against Liam McCaffrey, the chief executive, and director John McCartin, the Fine Gael councillor who helped persuade American investors to bring the old Quinn businesses back under local control.

The Quinn family issued a statement last week, condemning the acts of violence or intimidation.

It added: "Sean has a good working relationship with the US Investor Group and all discussions between those parties are private and confidential."

Sunday Independent

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