| 17.5°C Dublin

Quinn may have to miss grandchild's Christening

SEAN Quinn Snr is facing the prospect of being denied permission to attend his grandchild's Christening three days before Christmas, the Herald has learned.

The former multi-billionaire will ask prison bosses for temporary release for the family occasion on December 22.

However, sources said that there is 'no guarantee' Quinn will be granted leave on compassionate grounds. Prison authorities will seek legal advice on the matter.

The news comes as the 66-year-old woke in Mountjoy prison this morning after being jailed yesterday for "outrageous" contempt of court orders.

He was handed prisoner number 82809 and is expected to spend the next nine weeks in the jail's Training Unit.



Sentence

Sean Quinn's daughter Aoife appeared too upset to comment when contacted by the Herald last night.

"I can't talk about this right now, I'm sorry," she said.

There were incredible scenes in High Court room number Six when the bankrupt businessman opted not to seek a stay on his sentence.

He was jailed by Miss Justice Elizabeth Dunne for failing to comply with court orders aimed at preventing his assets from being moved beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

After a bitter battle with the Irish Bank and Resolution Corporation (IBRC), Quinn will now remain in prison until January 4.

However he is understood to desperate to be granted a day release to attend the Christening of his grandchild.

Ireland's one-time richest man will now submit an application with the Mountjoy authorities.

However well-place sources described Quinn's request as 'peculiar' given that the event in question could quite easily be postponed.

A source explained: "Sean Quinn Snr is a peculiar case because the sentence he has been given is definite sentence.

"We don't get many requests whereby a prisoner like him would look to get out for a Christening.



Judgment

"Unlike a Communion or Confirmation, the date of a Christening can be changed, so it's an unusual one and it's likely legal advice will be sought."

Meanwhile, the jailing of the former owner of Quinn Insurance has prompted comments from political figures on both sides of the border.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the judgment sends out a message to all citizens that court orders must be complied with.

"The Quinn family obviously created a great deal of jobs over the years.

"But you have to bear in mind as well that, for instance, the consequences of the insurance levy will hit every driver for the next two decades."

The North's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said: "I don't think anybody who has commented on the career of Sean Quinn has has disputed in any way the remarkable contribution that he has made to the employment prospects of people in the border counties and many have rightly applauded him for giving those people employment.

"I can't comment on a court case. As a minister, it would be completely inappropriate.

"All I want to say is I think the banks have a lot to answer for."

Meanwhile, a group that campaigns for Sean Quinn Snr and his family has said that it is considering its response to his imprisonment.

"What has happened to Sean is absolutely appalling and scandalous.



'Furious'

"The people up in his hometown of Ballyconnell are furious. We are considering our response and we will be making details of that clear next week," according to spokeswoman Patricia Gilheany.

Asked what form this response would take, Ms Gilheany said her group would not use any violence.

"There is civil unrest up here and we believe in protest, but any response will be completely peaceful," she added.

noconnor@herald.ie


Privacy