Fine Gael TD has 'sympathy' for former billionaire
A FINE Gael TD has said he has sympathy for bankrupt tycoon Sean Quinn, despite the former billionaire, his son and nephew being lambasted by a High Court judge for "dishonesty and deviousness".
Sean Conlan said last night: "They are a family who created an awful lot of employment -- not so much in Monaghan but in Cavan and Fermanagh.
"The community would have quite a great deal of sympathy towards them. As an individual human being, of course I do."
Mr Conlan said he believed "people" should comply with court orders but added that there were "bigger issues" in the Quinn case.
Asked about a High Court judge saying that the Quinns had engaged in "blatantly dishonest and deceitful behaviour", Mr Conlon replied: "The judge is entitled to his opinion."
By contrast, his constituency and party colleague, Fine Gael TD Heather Humphreys, said that while she understood the sympathy for Mr Quinn, he was still in breach of a court order.
"The issue is contempt of court. The rule of law and courts -- that is the basis on which the country is run," she said.
Ms Humphreys said Mr Quinn had "put Ballyconnell on the map" but added: "He is in breach of a High Court order. We have to respect the judiciary. He is in contempt of court."
Fine Gael's third TD in the Cavan-Monaghan constituency, Joe O'Reilly, was unavailable for comment.
Fianna Fail said the rule of law had to be obeyed.
"As regards our local representatives, Brendan Smith wasn't at the rally at the weekend," a spokeswoman said.
Sinn Fein confirmed that deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was outlining party policy when she said yesterday that the Quinns had an obligation to abide by the law "the same as any other citizen".
The spokesman said Sinn Fein MEP Michelle Gildernew had been speaking in a personal capacity last week when she said that Mr Quinn had been "treated disgracefully".