Tuesday 28 March 2017

Quinn admits he 'made mistakes' as advisers put strategy together

Sean Quinn Pictured with his daughter Ciara after her marrage to Niall McPartland. Photo: Frank McGrath
Sean Quinn Pictured with his daughter Ciara after her marrage to Niall McPartland. Photo: Frank McGrath

Laura Noonan and Luke Byrne

SEAN Quinn yesterday admitted he'd "made mistakes" in his business career and thanked supporters for the role they'd played in helping stave off the destruction of his empire.

The comments came at a "poignant" meeting between Mr Quinn and politicians yesterday morning, as the Cavan tycoon got to grips with the implications of Anglo Irish Bank's dramatic swoop on his empire.

Mr Quinn is believed to have spent much of yesterday locked in meetings with advisers trying to hammer out a strategy to deal with Anglo's decision to install a receiver across the Quinn Group.

The Quinns are also believed to be examining their options in relation to the insurance business and the family's remaining assets, including the Belfry golf course in the UK.

A spokesman last night indicated that "no decision" had yet been reached on the Quinns' strategy to deal with those assets, or the €2.88bn debt owed to Anglo Irish Bank.

In a statement issued in the immediate aftermath of Anglo's decision to take control of the Quinns' manufacturing, property and hotel interests, the family said they were "considering" the bank's action.

Anglo is believed to be keen to secure Mr Quinn's co-operation for any solution to deal with his outstanding debts, as it will make it much easier to identify the Cavan man's assets.

Politicians who attended yesterday's meeting in Monaghan's Four Season's Hotel said the Quinn Group founder had been "quite candid" about the mistakes he had made that led to the group's crisis.

Mr Quinn lost more than €3bn on a failed bet on Anglo Irish Bank's shares, leaving him €2.88bn in debt to Anglo and triggering the administration of his insurance company.

Meeting

"He talked more about the workers than he did about himself, he was glad that the jobs were going to be saved," said Frank Feighan, a Fine Gael TD who attended the meeting.

Mr Feighan added that Mr Quinn had thanked the cross-border political group for their efforts to ensure the Quinn Group's crisis was resolved without job losses or any adverse impact on the local area.

The politicians are set to raise points made by Mr Quinn and his lieutenants Dara O'Reilly and Kevin Lunney with Finance Minister Michael Noonan at a meeting next Wednesday.

And senior Quinn directors were summoned to the Cavan tycoon's palatial mansion yesterday for talks on the future of the giant conglomerate.

At least ten executive cars, including Audis, BMWs and a Volkswagen pulled up outside Mr Quinn's sprawling home at Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, at around noon yesterday.

The fleet was arranged neatly in front of Mr Quinn's gated residence, with some parked around the back, while the large wooden front doors of the house remained open for most of the day.

Among those seen to have attended the meeting was Sean Murphy, a director of the Quinn Glass arm of Mr Quinn's former empire, and Robert Rose, his fellow director.

Donal O'Rourke, a director of Quinn Packaging, and Paddy Mohan, a director on a number of the Quinn group companies, also attended the meeting.

A number of cars came and went during the day and the group held talks with Mr Quinn for a number of hours.

Just before 4pm the fleet took off from the house and drove the short distance to Quinn headquarters in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, where they went into the building.

Mr Quinn declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday and his daughter Collette could not be reached at her home.

Irish Independent

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