Northern Ireland

Quinn protesters block Derrylin factory entrance

There have been protests in support of jailed former billionaire Sean Quinn in Derrylin, County Fermanagh.

A number of tractors blocked a road and a lorry was parked across the entrance to the Quinn Glass factory.

The police said motorists reported being verbally abused by some protesters. There were also protests at Quinn companies at Ballyconnell, County Cavan which have since ended.

Quinn, 66, is serving a nine-week jail sentence for contempt of court.

In a statement, the protesters demanded his release and mediated talks between the Quinn family and IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Quinn went to jail on Friday after he decided not to apply for a stay on his sentence.

He was once Ireland's richest man, and the bankrupt former billionaire and his family have been embroiled in a high-profile legal battle with the bank, which 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).

The IBRC claims the Quinn family owes it more than two billion euros and is trying to recover the money from their assets.

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

Sean Quinn Sr is a farmer's son who left school at 14 and built a global business empire from humble beginnings in rural County Fermanagh.

As a young man, he borrowed £100 to start a business selling gravel quarried from his family's farm in Derrylin.

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

At the height of his success, the border billionaire was the richest man in Ireland and the 12th wealthiest in the UK.

He employed more than 8,000 people worldwide, but the majority of the jobs were based near his home, bringing much needed employment to the border counties of Fermanagh and Cavan.

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