Quinn claimed 'religious discrimination'
BUSINESSMAN Sean Quinn accused an economic development agency of religious discrimination against his business empire after it refused to fully back plans for a new cement factory, writes Adrian Rutherford.
Mr Quinn was dismayed after the Industrial Development Board in Northern Ireland said it would not provide the 40pc funding he claimed was needed to set up the plant in Fermanagh in the 1980s.
He wrote an angry letter to the IDB claiming its offer of £3,370,000 - a 20pc grant - was an effective rejection of his application for assistance.
Mr Quinn alleged it showed an unwillingness to invest in a largely nationalist area, describing it as "in effect a form of religious discrimination".
Rhodes Boyson, then Minister of State for Northern Ireland, dismissed Mr Quinn's allegations. The controversy is revealed in previously classified government files released today under the 30-year rule.
Over the decades through his family's various businesses, Mr Quinn amassed a personal fortune and became Ireland's richest man.
But he disastrously bet on the shares of the state-owned former Anglo Irish Bank shortly before it collapsed under the weight of failed property loans and was nationalised in 2009.