Northern Ireland

Séan Quinn: Fermanagh businessman says threats to his former companies 'not in my interests'

Séan Quinn Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Séan Quinn said the attacks were "not in the interests of me and my family"

Threats and violent attacks against firms once owned by the former County Fermanagh billionaire Séan Quinn are hindering his attempts to buy the businesses back, he has said.

There has been a long series of attacks on companies previously controlled by Mr Quinn, once Ireland's richest man.

He said in a statement that the attacks are "not in the interests of me and my family" and should end immediately.

Mr Quinn lost control of his manufacturing businesses in 2011.

A consortium of banks and other lenders took over Mr Quinn's group after he made a disastrous bet on shares in Anglo Irish Bank.

The packaging and construction materials business, based in counties Cavan and Fermanagh, were sold off to Quinn Industrial Holdings.

It is run by some of Mr Quinn's close associates but is jointly owned by three US investment funds that had urged him to condemn "escalating violence and intimidation" against the businesses.

Offensive

On Tuesday, a placard was erected in Derrylin in County Fermanagh threatening executives who now run one part of the former Quinn group.

And on Wednesday, a crane hire company working at a wind farm on Slieve Rushen near Derrylin once owned by Mr Quinn quit its work at the site after receiving threats.

Part of the dispute over the wind farm is about access rights and land ownership.

Mr Quinn said the threats and "negative activity" were "offensive and totally unacceptable".

Image caption Threats were made to a crane firm working at Slieve Rushen wind farm, formerly owned by Mr Quinn

"[My family has] repeatedly made our view clear within the local community over the past number of years, and once more, I, on behalf of the Quinn family, totally condemn any such intimidation," he said.

"I have always criticised the intimidation, however I am but one voice.

"I feel that other people that operate within this community should play their part also."

He added that, in his view, Platina Partners, the owners of the wind farm, needed to do more to "address the unease and tension in the area".

Counterproductive

Mr Quinn said commercial discussions with the US investment funds that own his former businesses have been "constructive".

But he said they had been "unnecessarily hindered" by "negative actions".

"[This] simply deepens the hurt and distrust that has plagued the company and the community since Anglo took the Quinn Group away from my family," he said.

"As it is wholly counterproductive to my efforts to buy back the company, I would urge that the negativity is brought to an immediate end."

Mr Quinn is a consultant for Quinn Industrial Holdings and is the highest paid person at the company.

He added that while he has "differences of opinion" with the company's senior management on business matters, he believes they can be resolved.

"My hope would be that those discussions will be constructive, and that the company I founded and put my life's work into could return to being one that people are proud to work for, and customers are happy to support."

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