Northern Ireland

Sean Quinn to return to former firm

Sean Quinn
Image caption Sean Quinn was once the richest man in Ireland but has been bankrupt and has also been jailed since he lost control of his multi-billion pound business empire

The bankrupt former billionaire, Sean Quinn, is returning to manufacturing after one of his former businesses was bought by a group of his supporters.

He was once the richest man in Ireland and the 12th richest in the UK before his business empire collapsed in 2010.

The new firm is to be renamed Quinn Industrial Holdings Ltd and will be led by former Quinn Group employees who once held senior roles under Mr Quinn.

Mr Quinn's level of remuneration has not yet been decided.

'Credibility'

John McCartin, who will be a non-executive board member of the new business, told BBC Radio Ulster that Mr Quinn still has "huge support" in his native County Fermanagh.

"Your credibility as a businessman is purely based on your ability to make money, in reality, and I think that's something that Sean Quinn has always been good at," he said.

"He's always been able to build a business and to run it well and to make money where others have failed and in that regard he has talents that are impossible to ignore."

Mr McCartin, who is a Fine Gael councillor and a businessman in County Leitrim, said the collapse of the Quinn Group had left a very "heavy legacy" in the north west of Ireland.

He said Mr Quinn would now play "a positive role" in rectifying that legacy.

Anglo Irish Bank

Mr Quinn was a self-made man who started a multi-billion pound business empire by selling gravel quarried from his family's farm in Derrylin.

The Quinn Group gradually expanded, manufacturing and supplying other building products, glass and plastics, and eventually moved into insurance, hotels and property development.

Mr Quinn also invested in Anglo Irish Bank, one of the leading lights of the Celtic Tiger economy, and built up a 25% stake in the bank.

The investment went disastrously wrong in 2008, and the bank, which was facing collapse, was bailed out by taxpayers.

Anglo Irish bank was nationalised in 2009 and its affairs were taken over by the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Contempt

For the last few years, the Quinn family has been involved in a high-profile legal battle with IBRC.

It claimed the Quinn family owes the former bank more than two billion euros and tried to recover the money from their assets.

Lawyers for the IBRC alleged that members of the Quinn family tried to strip assets from their firms, putting property worth millions of pounds beyond the reach of the former bank, in defiance of a court order.

In 2012, Dublin High Court ruled that Sean Quinn, his son Sean Quinn Jr and his nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn, were in contempt of that court order.

Sean Quinn and his son were both jailed for contempt and served short sentences in Dublin's Mount Joy prison.

Peter Darragh Quinn did not attend court for the sentencing and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

He left the jurisdiction and returned to Northern Ireland, where the arrest warrant could not be enforced.

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