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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Arsonists burn bus at Quinns' former premises

Published 08/01/2014 | 02:30

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Remains of the bus that was burned at the entrance to Thermal Insulation in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan
The bus on fire in Ballyconnell
The bus on fire in Ballyconnell

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn is involved in a bitter war of words with the company running his former businesses after an arson attack using a burning bus.

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A gang drove a bus to the entrance of Thermal Insulation in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, and set it on fire in the latest attack on premises formerly owned by the Quinns.

Detectives from the PSNI and An Garda Siochana are co-operating in their investigation into a series of incidents on both sides of the Border.

The Aventas Group, which now runs the business, issued a terse statement calling on Mr Quinn to condemn the attack.

But the Quinn family reacted with anger to the statement, pointing out that it had consistently condemned all arson attacks.

It came after 52-seater bus was set on fire in front of three businesses in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan at 5am yesterday.

Gardai said no damage was caused to the businesses. A number of tyres had been placed inside the bus.

A sign reading "Paul O'Brien. Disaster Tours. Leaving Soon" was attached to the vehicle.

Mr O'Brien was appointed chief executive of the Quinn businesses by the receivers. Mr O'Brien's BMW car was previously torched in an attack in August 2011.

CONDEMN

Gardai and PSNI detectives are working to catch the gang behind a series of attacks. In December, a fuel tanker was set on fire at the former Quinn Group headquarters in Fermanagh, just over a mile from yesterday's incident.

The Aventas statement said: "We believe these criminal acts are being carried out in support of an ongoing campaign to disrupt and sabotage the business in the belief that this will result in reinstatement of the former owner of the business. This makes no sense and will not happen.

"The Aventas Group is owned and controlled by a number of international financial investors. Signs erected locally, continually referencing IBRC ownership of the group and the current executives having been appointed by 'Anglo', are incorrect and purposely misleading.

"To be clear, the former Anglo Irish Bank, now IBRC, has no hand, act or part in the appointment of the management or the running of the business.

"We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms and it is our strong belief that these acts are being carried out as a form of support for the former owner.

"We would call on him to issue an unequivocal statement condemning the most recent acts of sabotage and call on the perpetrators to desist immediately before someone is injured or worse."

But Sean Quinn told the Irish Independent the statement was "unclear" as he hadn't owned Quinn Thermal since 2002 when it was transferred to his family.

He said: "While the statement does not specifically name me, I believe it is nonetheless important to reiterate that I have already condemned these attacks in the strongest terms, a fact that is widely reported in the national media.

"Lest there be any doubt, I wish to reiterate in the most categoric terms that I condemn these unlawful acts and that any persons carrying out such acts are not acting in my name."

SABOTAGE

The former billionaire said he had met the chairman of the Quinn Group, Mike McTighe, in May 2012 and offered "any assistance that I or my family could provide".

He said he also wrote to Mr McTighe 11 months ago, and the group's financiers, offering any assistance required.

Mr Quinn added: "None of these offers were accepted, which is disappointing and makes the statement by the group surprising."

Greg Harkin

Irish Independent

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