11 August 2012     


Whilst the sight of five thousand demonstrating their support for the bankrupt billionaire Seán Quinn and his family in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, on Sunday 29 July may have brought tears of emotion to Quinn’s eyes, it may have brought tears of dismay to others.
     Obviously the employment created by the Quinn group of companies in Cos. Cavan and Fermanagh has been one effect, but is it just an emotional response rather than a principled one, and is it a more serious case of turning a blind eye to illegality?
     As one commentator put it, Seán Quinn’s pre-2008 business record does not entitle Quinn and his family to special treatment, and his recent behaviour is a case of disregarding the consequences of withholding hundreds of millions from the Irish taxpayer.
     These consequences, according to reports, mean that every citizen in the Republic with an insurance policy for cars, houses, mobile phones etc. will feel pain for the next decade as a levy of 2 per cent is imposed on every premium. This tax is to cover losses at Quinn Insurance that were illegally used to support other areas of the Quinn empire.
     Seán Quinn was removed as chairman of the insurance company by the financial regulator because of this, a move apparently that Quinn has since conceded was correct.
     The situation has seen the deputy leader of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, condemn the Quinn family, whilst Michelle Gildernew, the local Sinn Féin MP, claimed they had been treated disgracefully by the Irish government. The people on the streets may well see an injustice in the treatment of the Quinn family, but a failure to see any wrongdoing by them is a case of deceiving themselves.

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