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Quinn must not be allowed to get away with this arrogance

In the ongoing dogfight between Sean Quinn and Anglo Irish Bank, a quote from Henry Kissinger about the 1980s Iran-Iraq war comes to mind -- what a shame that both of them can't lose.

Poor old Sean, of course, would be extremely hurt by this comparison.

The former insurance giant has been busy playing the sympathy card, portraying himself as an impoverished pensioner as he filed for bankruptcy in a Belfast court last Friday.

Now we are set for a long, tedious and costly battle over which side of the border he is actually resident.

The bottom line, however, is this -- Quinn's desperate move proves that his image as one of Ireland's most successful businessmen was a complete sham. He allowed the financial world to laud him as a fantastic entrepreneur and the people of Cavan to treat him as a local hero.

In reality, he gave away most of his assets to family years ago and his annual pension is a modest €10,000.



Gambler

Even after everything that's been revealed about him, Quinn's arrogance is truly breathtaking.

In one of his recent public statements, he objected to the media describing him as "a gambler".

How else would you label a man who borrowed vast amounts, invested it in Ireland's dodgiest bank and has ended up owing almost €2.9bn as a result?

Instead of facing the music, however, Quinn is still battling hard to minimise his losses. He has deliberately opted to seek bankruptcy in Northern Ireland, where the laws are more lenient.

In the UK, you can be discharged after a year and hang on to your pension -- while here, the process often takes up to 12 years and leaves people without a penny.

So how will Anglo Irish respond? They may try to challenge Quinn's assertion about where he lives, recover some of his properties in eastern Europe or investigate the personal guarantees provided by his wife and family.

In an ideal world, no ordinary person would care who wins -- but now that we own this basket-case of a bank, the grim reality is that Anglo's huge legal bill will inevitably be picked up by the Irish taxpayer.

That's why Quinn's latest antics leave such a bad taste in the mouth. By fighting his legal battles in the Republic, he could at least have saved the State a few quid. Instead, he is showing his true colours -- and looking after number one.

While all this drags on, Quinn will not exactly be living the life of a typical bankrupt.

Since Anglo cannot touch his family home for now, he can presumably still kick back in the mansion beside the Quinn Group's Slieve Russell Hotel in Co Cavan. With its swimming pool, jacuzzi and seven en-suite bathrooms, it should provide him with at least some comfort as he surveys the wreck of his once all-conquering business career.

Despite his best efforts to portray himself as a humble man who likes nothing better than a few pints, Quinn is proving himself to be the perfect poster boy for Celtic Tiger arrogance.

He blew his vast fortune because he had somehow managed to convince himself that the party would last forever. Now that the hangover has definitely kicked in, he is doing his level best to ensure that others pay the price for his reckless blunders.

If Quinn gets his way, he will be free to start up another business by Christmas 2012. Even better from his point of view, he will not owe Anglo Irish one red cent.

So while cheering on the bank that helped to destroy our economy might feel a bit strange, it's exactly what we should do -- because this is one last stunt that Sean Quinn must not be allowed to get away with.


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