Politicians accused and abused at meeting of Quinn workers
Published 03/12/2012 | 05:00
A GOVERNMENT backbench TD was booed and heckled as he joined more than 500 people at a meeting in support of workers at the Quinn Group.
Cavan/Monaghan Fine Gael TD Joe O'Reilly felt the anger of the crowd after one member of the public at the meeting claimed politicians "have done nothing" for people in the border counties.
Fine Gael senator Michael Comiskey sat beside Fianna Fail TD Brendan Smith and Sinn Fein's Michael Colreavy at the meeting in Ballyconnell Community Centre in Co Cavan.
Sean Quinn Jnr stood at the back of the hall with several friends as the chairwoman of the Concerned Irish Citizens group, Maureen Martin, claimed senior jobs within the Quinn Group are being re-located to Dublin and England.
Speaker after speaker was cheered as they condemned politicians from all parties.
"You're here to try to save face because you'll have to face the electorate," said one man. "You have no clout and you'd be better admitting it."
However, Mr O'Reilly hit back, insisting TDs from all parties had worked tirelessly to save jobs within the Quinn group of companies.
"We formed an all-party group in 2010 and that group worked day after day and night after night," he said.
"We went to every imaginable organisation. We did our best to dam the river and stop the flow and we have not stopped yet."
Mr O'Reilly said he "totally supported" the demand of the organisers of last night's meeting that senior positions in Cavan and Fermanagh should be filled by local people.
Sligo/Leitrim TD Mr Colreavy rejected a claim from one speaker that his party had changed its position on the Quinn saga.
"There has to be a serious public inquiry into Anglo Irish Bank and we've always said that," he said. "We need an investigation from the day it was established.
"The receivers have little or no interest in jobs remaining here and we need to put local management back into place.
"We are entitled to continue to fight to keep the jobs here instead of being portrayed as leprechauns."
Claims were made at the meeting that 17 senior local executives had lost their jobs at the Quinn Group in the past 18 months.
One of them, former CEO of the Quinn Radiator Division Denis Doogan, had a letter read out at the meeting in which he claimed industrial tribunal cases are pending against the administrators from a number of the executives.
"Collectively, 450 years of experience has been obliterated," said Mr Doogan of the redundancies among senior Quinn staff.
Meanwhile, Sean Quinn Jnr condemned the publication at the weekend of pictures of his father in prison.
Mr Quinn, who was himself pictured during his three months in Mountjoy, said: "There will be repercussions."