Sunday 17 December 2017

Protesters claim loss of jobs would create ghost towns

Marese McDonagh

Quinn Group employees from both sides of the Border were told last night that Enniskillen would be a ghost town without Sean Quinn's companies.

An estimated 2,000 people, many of whom had travelled across the Border in buses, chanted "save our jobs" at a rally in the Co Fermanagh town to highlight concerns about the future of Quinn Insurance.

Northern Ireland's enterprise minister Arlene Foster told the crowd, who packed the Diamond in the centre of Enniskillen that Co Fermanagh would be £8m (€9.2m) a year worse off without Quinn Insurance.

Her Sinn Fein colleague, the North's agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew said Enniskillen would be a ghost town without the Quinn Group.

Damien Love, one of two local Quinn Insurance employees who addressed the rally, said the reality of the current threat was that people were facing the dole. This amounted to £50.95 (€58) a week for young people, £64.30 (€74) for over-25s and just £100.95 (€116) for a couple.

His colleague Maria Glancy said that 2,800 Quinn Insurance employees would be directly affected by the regulator's actions.

"Administrators see balance sheets and loans but they fail to see the faces behind them, those who have children to rear and mortgages to pay," she added.

"I challenge the regulator to remember the people behind the profits, the faces behind the figures."

Coleman Smith, who has worked with Quinn Insurance in Cavan since 2001, travelled by bus with several colleagues to Enniskillen.

"Every extended family in Cavan has someone working for Sean Quinn," he said.

"We can't understand why when the banks are getting bailouts, he is not getting a chance. We all live in the same economy with the same worldwide recession."

Irish Independent

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