The four sisters of jailed Sean Quinn Jnr last night came out in support of not only their brother but also their fugitive cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, who it was understood had been estranged from the family.
Ciara Quinn, one of the sisters, said she had not spoken to Peter Darragh Quinn and did not know where he was, but she added: "When you are ordered by a court to do something which physically cannot be done, it leaves you in a very difficult and frightening place."
As the gardai continued to search for the missing businessman, it emerged that the former Anglo Irish Bank has prepared plans to take bankruptcy proceedings against Patricia Quinn, the wife of Ireland's once richest man, Sean Quinn. The development is seen by the Quinn family as a calculated attempt to put pressure on Sean Quinn Snr, described in court last week as the family "chieftain", through extended members of the family.
IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, claims that the Quinn family owes €2.8bn in debt; the family acknowledges they owe €455m, but dispute the remainder.
Last night, in another dramatic development, the Quinn children hit back at IBRC's claims in a statement, which showed no sign that the family is prepared to concede.
The four sisters of jailed Sean Quinn Jnr said: "Our brother is in jail tonight whilst those people in Anglo, the Central Bank and the Regulator's office, who knew about or sanctioned €2.3bn being pumped into our companies without our knowledge, are still being protected and living their lives."
And the jailed businessman's wife, Karen, said in a statement: "I am distraught that my husband Sean is jailed for failing to comply with a court order. The whole situation makes no sense to me. I know that ministers and even the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, have been to the Ukraine and Russia attempting to get these properties returned and have failed. This is what was asked of Sean and I don't understand how they expect him to overturn these transactions. I can only feel that he is being made a scapegoat for the collapse of Anglo."
Last night a spokesman for Mr Kenny said he had "no comment to make on the statement ... or on any ongoing judicial proceedings."
The IBRC now plans to take bankruptcy proceedings against Mrs Patricia Quinn because of the non-repayment of a €3m mortgage in her name on the palatial family home in Cavan.
The move is designed to put further pressure on Sean Quinn Snr, whose lawyer in the High Court last week described tactics such as these as "medieval".
Mrs Quinn, who once described herself as a housewife under her husband's influence, took out the mortgage several years ago but it is no longer being repaid.
Other family members will also be targeted if it can be demonstrated that they had any role in hiding assets from IBRC.
The bank intends to break the already bankrupt Sean Quinn's resolve to keep his assets beyond the bank's reach.
Sean Quinn Jnr and his cousin were jailed for three months on Friday for what was described as an "outrageous" contempt of court and their failure to adequately co-operate to reverse the asset stripping.
With her son starting a jail sentence in Mountjoy Training Unit last night, and her nephew Peter on the run, Patricia Quinn and the rest of her children are under extraordinary pressure to help deliver to the bank an overseas property fortune estimated at €500m.
Mr Quinn has been told to co-operate with court orders to help recover the family fortune. His son will stay in jail if he fails to cooperate and he too faces a jail sentence.
The Sunday Independent understands that the High Court's ultimatum to co-operate or face jail has divided the Quinn family.
However, last night's statement from Ciara Quinn shows that the family still includes Peter Darragh Quinn in its embrace.
Peter Darragh Quinn, regarded as the mastermind in the plan to hide the overseas assets, decided weeks ago that he would go on the run rather than go to jail. He was last night thought to be hiding out in Northern Ireland where the bench warrant issued for his arrest for contempt of court on Friday cannot be enforced.
Sources close to the family said Peter Darragh told relatives at a family meeting in recent weeks that he was not prepared to go to jail.
The meeting was called to discuss the potential consequences of the damning judgement by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that found Sean Quinn Snr, his son and nephew guilty of contempt of court.
Last Friday, the High Court was told that Peter Darragh Quinn had signed court documents between 2am and 3am, but at 10.15am -- 15 minutes before the hearing started -- he contacted his lawyer to say he was sick and unable to attend.
His lawyers were unable to contact him by phone or email and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Last night gardai visited homes in the Republic connected with the Quinn family but as of yesterday afternoon he was still missing.
As detectives hunted down Peter Darragh, Sean Quinn Jnr spent his first night in Mountjoy Training Centre in Dublin, a semi-open prison where he was thought to have had a single cell.
His new wife, Karen Woods, visited him at the adjacent Mountjoy Prison yesterday morning before he was transferred.
Wearing sunglasses, designer jeans and clutching an oversized Prada handbag, Ms Woods's head was bowed as she made her way to the prison gates.
She was accompanied by two young women -- one of whom appeared teary-eyed as they waited to gain access.
She begged officers to "please, please let us in, please", anxious to slip away from the waiting media and behind the prison walls to see her husband. She emerged an hour later smiling profusely before getting into a waiting BMW and being driven off.
Sean Quinn isn't the only one who holds the courts in contempt. That's pretty much the way I feel about them, too. The courts, and the rest of the hesitant, ineffectual, overpriced justice system. The Sean Quinn scandal has put the courts to the test. The results are not impressive.