Hundreds of staff plead at Dail for their jobs
Published 02/04/2010 | 05:00
HUNDREDS of Quinn Insurance workers descended on the Dail yesterday to plead with the Government to help save their jobs.
The workers, who arrived from branches countrywide, handed in a letter to the Dail which called on the Government to show support to Quinn Insurance workers, as it has done in the past with the withdrawal of multinationals.
The protest followed the Financial Regulator's decision to ask the High Court to place Quinn Insurance into administration earlier in the week.
"Surely a home-grown business should receive the same support if not further support from its Government. The actions taken by the regulator could result in jobs/business and profits all leaving Ireland with non-Irish companies," the letter from "All Quinn Employees" said.
Outside the Dail, where government and opposition politicians chatted with protesters, placards were held which read: "The Irish Government should be stabilising existing Irish jobs."
A spokesman for the workers, Donal Crotty, said the company's 5,500 employees in Enniskillen, Cavan, Navan, Cork and Blanchardstown were concerned for their jobs. "The insurance business is about confidence and confidence is something that is built on reputation. The Quinn company has built up, from nothing, its reputation, and has changed the dynamic of the insurance industry," he said.
"What we have now is a situation where the reputation of that company has been thrown to the wind by the Regulator and that affects our ability to continue business in they we were," he said.
Workers decided to travel from branches across the country so their "voices could be heard", he said. No coaches were organised, with workers instead travelling off their own bat by car, bus and train.
One worker, Rebecca Keane, said she was shocked when she arrived into work on Tuesday to hear news of the Regulator's decision.
"It was a massive shock. We had no inkling at all. We all came to work as normal. Unfortunately, this came out and nobody had any answers. It was spun on the business, I would say personally, very underhandedly. We had no forewarning," she said.
Another worker, Kenneth Geary, said staff had seen an increase in business, making this week's move "unjustified".
"I've a young daughter and we don't know whether we're going to be able to feed ourselves in the next few months.
"We just want answers. We want the administrators out because we are a very profitable company and can continue to grow," he said.
While the Government is preparing for its two-week Easter break, thousands of workers are now concerned for their jobs over Easter, another worker Niall Mulligan said.
"The Government has spent billions bailing out banks, on people that have just squandered it away . . . AIB and BoI are all sitting pretty and now we're paying the bill," he said.