'It's an absolute disgrace how they've hounded that man out'

Allison Bray and Luke Byrne

Brothers (from left), Ronan, Richard, Gerard and Karl Maguire who have all worked for the Quinn Group for their entire working lives. Mark Condren

WORKERS at the Quinn Group expressed mixed emotions last night over news that Sean Quinn will no longer be at the helm of his troubled insurance firm.

Anglo Irish Bank yesterday announced that the firm's founder and his family will no longer have a role in running the business empire that he started more than 40 years ago.

Workers at Quinn Insurance in Cavan town yesterday expressed shock over the news.

Richard Maguire, (46), and his brothers Gerard (49), Ronan (36) and Karl (30) from Derrylinn, Co Fermanagh, have all worked for the group for their entire working lives.

"The latest is that Sean Quinn is out of a job from today. It's an absolute disgrace, they've hounded that man out," said Richard Maguire, a senior manager.

"It was political, they wanted to make him pay for his mistake, but the business was doing well before it went into receivership," he added.

The brothers said they and other Quinn workers have been spared redundancies unlike other companies affected by the demise of the construction industry.

And like many of the staff and locals in Co Cavan, they support Mr Quinn and speak highly of his family.

Colum Courtney, based at Quinn Insurance in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, said: "On a human level it is good news for workers that their future is secure and their jobs are safe."

"But at a local level, for the people who have close connections with Sean Quinn and have seen what he has done across the area, it's devastating," he said.

"I wouldn't have a job in Fermanagh and people couldn't have come back from abroad if it wasn't for him and we're grateful for that. It's a sad day for the Quinn family."

But staff are also quietly relieved that the move means their jobs are relatively safe, according to Derek Smith, who represents Quinn Insurance staff in Cavan.

"The vast, vast majority of people in Quinn Insurance are delighted to be keeping their jobs."

Aine Donnelly, workers' representative in Enniskillen, agreed.

"It's been a tough last year for us and there is relief that all our jobs have been saved," she said.

"We are obviously devastated for Sean Quinn and his family, and it's going to take a while for it all to sink in for employees. But this is the news we have been waiting for," she said.

But Caroline Forde, a claims manager with Quinn Insurance in Cavan, said the news still comes as a blow to the workers and the local community.

"We're devastated," she said.