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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Rapist freed for Christmas, but Sean Quinn may remain in jail

Tom Lyons

Published 16/12/2012 | 05:00

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Sean Quinn's daughter, his solicitor and the family priest have appealed to the governor of Mountjoy prison to have him released to attend his granddaughter's christening and spend Christmas Day at home with his family.

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Quinn is currently serving a nine-week sentence for civil contempt of court in relation to his family's battle for control of overseas property assets worth hundreds of millions with state-owned bank IBRC.

Ciara Quinn, the former billionaire's solicitors and his local priest have written to Governor Ned Whelan this month asking permission for a temporary release.

As they await a response, a judge in Limerick has decided to grant Christmas release to a notorious Limerick man with a previous conviction for rape. Thomas O'Neill, 24, who this week admitted telling Jennifer McCarthy he would burn her mother from her home, has been released by Judge Carroll Moran between December 21 and January 2. O'Neill, who has 36 previous convictions, must reside at an address in Limerick, observe a curfew between 9pm and 8am and sign on at a local garda station.

Meanwhile Ciara Quinn has described the birth of her daughter in August as "the only good in my life over the past 19 months". She said she had hoped to christen her daughter in September but had decided to postpone it as her brother Sean Quinn Jnr was incarcerated at the time for contempt of court.

She said the family had then set a new date of December 22 to allow members of her husband Niall McPartland's family who live overseas to attend. One of McPartland's brothers, who is to be the baby's godfather, is coming home from China.

"Without my father there, it will leave a large void in the ceremony and a dark cloud over the entire day," Ciara Quinn wrote. "My father is a devoted family man," she added, "and to miss his granddaughter's christening would negatively affect him."

"His life revolves around his family and it is for these reasons that I request temporary release for my dad from the 22nd December to the 27th December."

The bankrupt businessman has a litany of health complaints which were outlined to the court before sentencing.

Quinn's lawyers KRW Law in Belfast also wrote to the governor of Mountjoy on December 5 requesting "temporary leave on compassionate grounds". They asked for Quinn's "good character" and his "exemplary" behaviour while in the training unit of Mountjoy to be considered. "Sean Quinn has been married to his wife Patricia for 38 years and together they have five children and five grandchildren. In their almost four decades of marriage they have never spent a Christmas apart and they have found this period of incarceration very difficult."

Fr Gerry Comiskey, a friend of the family and their local priest, also wrote in support of their application: "It is clear that the Quinn family is very close-knit, and to have any member missing, let alone a husband, father and grandfather on either the Christening day or Christmas Day will wound them deeply."

A spokesman for Justice Minister Alan Shatter said "the minister does not comment on individual cases. He will however consider applications for temporary release over the Christmas period, as has been the case in previous years."

Sunday Independent

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