The jailing of his son and nephew was supposed to be “a practical way” of procuring compliance with the court orders to reverse the contempt of court in putting assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo-Irish Bank, now the state-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).
Instead, the bankrupt Sean “I am not dishonest” Quinn snr has embarked on an unapologetic PR campaign. Whilst his still ‘on the run’ nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn, has been reportedly photographed with his father at a GAA match in Fermanagh. [So much for facing the music – Ed] Indeed.
Yesterday’s Irish Times has some quotes from a recent radio interview.
BANKRUPT BUSINESSMAN Seán Quinn has said if the former Anglo Irish Bank wanted to see him jailed he would “accept it”, but said that putting his assets beyond the bank’s reach was “the right thing to have done”.
Mr Quinn also said it was a “an absolute total disgrace” and a “scandal” that his wife Patricia, an “innocent woman”, was “bankrupted” for €3 million.
“She is a housewife, she never read any documentation in her life, she just signed whatever she was asked to sign as 90 per cent of people would,” Mr Quinn said.
Which is the same line of defence that was completely rejected by the Dublin High Court
Since the middle of the 18th century, the law allowed for no presumption of undue influence between a wife and husband, and there was also no actual evidence of undue influence by Mr Quinn over Mrs Quinn, such as bullying behaviour, Mr Justice Kelly said.
The judge quoted from another High Court judge, the late Miss Justice Mella Carroll, who had said in another case 25 years ago, the day was long past when married women could be classified akin to infants and persons of unsound mind and evade liability by arguing they were only concerned with minding their house and children.
He rejected Mrs Quinn’s other claims of a defence on grounds she did not understand what she was signing and did not benefit from the €3 million loan. The truth is, he said, Mrs Quinn gave no thought to what she was signing but that could not be a defence.
What could be more negligent than “willy-nilly” signing legal documents without any thought to their nature and effect?, the judge asked. Even a glance at these documents would have made clear to all but the illiterate they related to a borrowing transaction, he added.
From the same Irish Times report
Mr Quinn said he had made a “very conscious decision” to put assets beyond the bank’s reach.
“We thought at the time we were retaining our own assets and they were moving in illegally on those assets,” he said. “There was an onus on us to make some effort to defend ourselves.
“We felt it was the right thing to do and we still feel it was the right thing to have done – unfortunately it finished up in prison,” he said in the interview, which was recorded on Thursday.
An earlier Irish Times report on Friday included this quote
Mr Quinn also spoke of the lack of action by politicians to assist him.
In 2010, when his company as placed into administration, no politicians felt “in a position to overrule Matthew Elderfield (financial regulator) and I respect that,” he said.
“Governments don’t normally make good commercial decisions. They normally make decisions to keep themselves safe rather than making courageous decisions,” he said.
Which is a roundabout way of acknowledging that the Quinn Group campaign against the independent Regulator failed [the interfering “foreigner”… – Ed]. Who was acting “in the proper performance of his functions“. In a “completely consistent” manner.
Nevermind, Sean. The MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, is still honking on your behalf.
Even Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has come out to defend the family, telling this newspaper that what has happened to Mr. Quinn was “wrong”.
“He has been treated disgracefully by the Irish Government. Had they not tried to strip him off all his assets, including his home, deny him the ability to function in business, and routinely try to humiliate him I believe he would have paid back every penny he owed to the Irish taxpayer.
“He accepted he had done wrong, but all our attempts to make the government show some comment sense were ignored. He is being punished for having the audacity to ‘buy the bank; and for being an ordinary man from Fermanagh who is hugely respected by his community,” she said.
Update The PR campaign continues!
Hundreds of supporters attended the rally in Ballyconnell on Sunday night.
Speakers included well-known names within the GAA including Mickey Harte and Joe Kernan, as well as Fermanagh priest Father Brian D’Arcy.
And from the Irish Times report, where the numbers present have swollen significantly.
Speaking today, former GAA president Seán Kelly defended the support shown for the Quinns, saying it was “an expression of moral support” for a family who had always been loyal to the association. He said Quinns had never forgotten their roots and had always committed to the GAA financially and in terms of their time, he said. [added emphasis]
While the rally was not an official protest sanctioned by Croke Park “per se”, the show of support “for our own” and about standing behind those in trouble locally was what the association was all about, he said.
You get what you pay for… [Has he been making political donations as well? – Ed] Good question.