Irish News

Saturday 2 August 2014

Quinn family questions 'generous' redundancy payouts for ex-staff

Donal O'Donovan

Published 20/05/2013|04:00

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Sean Quinn and Sean Jnr at the Ulster Senior Championship match between Cavan and Armagh

A REPORT by the Quinn family into the loss of its Quinn Insurance empire has questioned the need for the "generous" redundancy payments made to staff, including the many hundreds in the family's support base of Cavan and Fermanagh who lost their jobs in 2010.

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Sean Quinn Jnr has called for a public inquiry into the appointment of an administrator to the family's former Quinn Insurance business.

He wants it to look into how all Irish insurance customers have ended up paying a special levy of as much as €1.6bn after the business went into administration under accountants from Grant Thornton.

The Quinn family has produced a 40-page report into the situation, highlighting what it sees as significant failings after the family was forced out of Quinn Insurance, including failures to manage costs.

Monthly fees charged by Grant Thornton during its period in control of the insurance business equated to €550,000 or €3,279 per hour, the report said.

The cost of redundancies is also criticised. In all, some 900 staff took voluntary redundancy from Quinn Insurance in 2010, at a cost to the business of €9.9m, the report said.

The redundancies are highlighted to support claims by the family that costs grew out of control after the High Court appointed administrators Paul McCann and Michael McAteer to run Quinn Insurance in 2010.

STUN

The news that the level of compensation for lost jobs is being questioned is likely to stun hundreds of former Quinn Insurance staff in the heartland along the Border, who benefited from the redundancy terms and where support for the Quinn family is still high.

Bankrupt former tycoon Sean Quinn Snr and his son Sean Jnr were among thousands of fans at yesterday's Ulster senior championship match between Cavan and Armagh at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan.

Staff received payouts of four weeks' pay per year of service as well as their statutory entitlement under the administrators' redundancy scheme.

It was "one of the most generous redundancy packages given in recent years and three times the legal requirement", according to the Quinns' report.

"While employees shouldn't be begrudged a fair redundancy package . . . is it right that Quinn Insurance Ltd is paying the most generous redundancy scheme in recent years, at three times the legal requirement?" the report asks. Hundreds of workers at offices in Cavan, Enniskillen, Meath, Dublin and the UK were made redundant.

Irish Independent

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