Mask slips as former tycoon weeps for jailed son
FOR over a year Sean Quinn has, in public at any rate, batted away his woes with the charm and grit that transformed the Fermanagh native from a lowly quarryman to an international and highly revered business magnate.
But the mask slipped yesterday and the private anguish of Ireland's former richest man was briefly exposed when his only son, Sean Quinn Jnr, was sentenced to three months in prison for an asset-stripping scheme his father masterminded according to his nemesis, Anglo Irish Bank, now IBRC.
Sean Quinn Snr's nephew Peter Quinn, former head of the Quinn family's €500m strong international property portfolio, was not present to hear that he would be joining his cousin in jail.
In a day of seemingly never-ending drama, a bench warrant was issued for Peter Quinn's arrest shortly after noon after he failed to turn up in court, apparently suffering from an illness.
Although the two Quinn cousins will shoulder the burden behind bars for failing to comply with court orders, all eyes were trained in court on Sean Quinn Snr to see how he would react to his newly married son's fate.
Initially, he did not.
But as court 12 in the Four Courts slowly emptied to allow officials to perfect the order committing Sean Quinn Jnr to jail, his father -- flanked by a burly friend -- fought back tears, continually wringing a white linen handkerchief in his right hand.
Despite the true grit, he could not contain his pain -- but what parent can seeing their only son jailed?
Across the courtroom, Sean Quinn Jnr paced nervously as his lawyers explained the alien procedures that would result in his committal to Dublin's Mountjoy prison.
Sean Quinn Snr could not bear to see his son led away by gardai and retired to the round hall of the Four Courts to consult with the family's legal team.
He left 20 minutes before Sean Quinn Jnr, spared the indignity of handcuffs, was swept away by gardai to the unfamiliar sights and sounds of Mountjoy.