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Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Chip off block' best known for loyalty to GAA club

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

DESCRIBED as the ultimate chip off his uncle's block, Sean Quinn's nephew Peter spent most of his career at the Quinn Group in relative obscurity before shooting to prominence when the family empire began to implode.

Fresh from a year's "travelling and working" in Australia, the then 25-year-old accountant was hired into his uncle's business in 2003 as an investment analyst at Quinn Insurance.

By 2004, he'd been promoted to general manager of Quinn Radiators, before moving to a management role in the Quinn property portfolio two years later.

It was not until 2009 that he informally became general manager of a massive property portfolio that stretched across Ireland, the UK, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Russia and the Ukraine.

Even then, he claims he was no different from any other employee, surviving on a salary and expenses, with no ownership stake in the group that made his five cousins millionaires hundreds of times over.

A former senior football player for Fermanagh, he was better known for travelling home from Russia every weekend to manage his local Teemore GAA club than he was for his role in the Quinn Group.

On the side, he built up a property portfolio of his own, but it bore little resemblance to the one he managed for his extended family.

He owns a house on Dublin's Navan Road, a 50pc share (with his brother) in a house on Dublin's Royal Canal and a 50pc share (with his sister) in a house in the Quinn family's heartland of Ballyconnell, Cavan. He says all the properties are mortgaged and in negative equity.

The €500m global property empire the accountant oversaw was to become ground zero in a mammoth battle between the Quinn family and Anglo Irish Bank that began in late 2010.

Around the same time, a new war cabinet was created around Sean Quinn, and this time family members like Peter Darragh Quinn, rather than paid executives, were at the very heart of it.

The Quinn nephew began to appear at meetings about the Quinn family concerns far beyond the scope of the property empire. Many who met him were struck by the similarities between him and his uncle, in their mannerisms and their way of thinking, and their singular determination.

Irish Independent

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