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Quinn Insurance set to agree administration

Tycoon Sean Quinn's beleaguered insurance division was expected back in the Irish High Court today to agree to permanent administration.

Quinn Insurance has been in turmoil since the Financial Regulator warned there were serious concerns over its ability to cover an influx of claims.

Mr Quinn, once Ireland's richest man, had attempted to fight the move claiming the business needed €150m to meet the watchdog's strict solvency rules.

It is understood management today held talks with employees, who have been demonstrating over the regulator's plans, to detail the way forward for the firm and plans to accept administration.

The sudden court hearing was arranged less than 24 hours after regulator Matthew Elderfield claimed he would lift administration if Quinn could come up with the money.

The company, which was due to find out the watchdog's thoughts on its in-house refinancing plans today, is facing a High Court showdown next Monday over administration.

Mr Elderfield was given a last minute "lengthy affidavit" from Quinn Insurance just as a hearing on the issue was about to start earlier this week.

Quinn Insurance employs 2,800 workers, while the wider group has about another 2,700 in the multinational's cement, quarry, glass and property businesses.

Staff, who have staged a series of rallies since the regulator moved in, are understood to be in favour of the move claiming it will give them job security in traditional unemployment blackspots near the border.

They took their protests against administration to Government Buildings in Dublin and had also planned to picket the regulator's office tomorrow.

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