Mannok raises ‘safety’ concerns after ex-tycoon Sean Quinn’s comments in extended interview

The company at the centre of a row with Fermanagh man Sean Quinn has expressed “safety” concerns after the former tycoon said he said he would do “anything I can do in my power” to remove his former management team.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 6:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:41 am

In 2008 Sean Quinn employed over 8,000 people and had a personal fortune of £3bn. But then in 2011 he lost control of his empire after he made a disastrous investment in the Anglo Irish Bank.

In 2014 his empire was bought by local businessmen backed by US investors, who brought back former Quinn senior management to run them. But since then there have been attacks and intimidation against the company and management of the new company, Mannok, culminating in director Kevin Lunney being abducted and tortured in 2019.

Three Dublin men have been convicted of the crime, which was directed by the local Border criminal Cyril McGuinness, also known as Dublin Jimmy. He died of a heart attack when being arrested by police in England two months later.

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Sean Quinn has spoken out in a bid to change the narrative, he says.

In a three hour interview, Mr Quinn has now spoken out to make a string of allegations about people he claims “stabbed him in the back”.

Mr Quinn has repeatedly condemned the abduction and assault of Kevin Lunney.

But in his latest interview he opted to defend his own reputation.

Referring to himself in the third person, Mr Quinn said: “He is not what people think. He has not been responsible for all that is going on. He is not responsible for the abduction of Kevin Lunney. He is not responsible for all the sabotage. He is not responsible the 2pc levy (slapped on all insurance policies to make up for the losses caused by Quinn Insurance difficulties).”

“So, you’re the victim?” he was asked.

“I think so. I believe so,” he told the Sunday Independent.

He initially says he is “not talking” about Dublin Jimmy, the “supervisor” of the attack on Kevin Lunney, calling it “low-class journalism”. But later he says: “Course I knew him. Sure everyone knew Dublin Jimmy. Was I ever talking to him? No.”

He was asked what would Dublin Jimmy and three men from inner-city Dublin have to gain by carving QIH on Kevin Lunney’s chest, demanding the resignation of the directors and the dropping of legal actions on both sides of the Border.

He replied: “Why are you asking me? Why don’t you ask Kevin Lunney?”

He continued to make allegations about who was behind the campaign of sabotage against the company. Asked how he knew this, he replied: “From other people who were involved,” he says.

Asked if did anything to stop it, he said: “Nothing. I wasn’t involved.”

Asked if he went to An Garda Síochána, he replied: “I was never an informer. And I resisted that until January 2020 when these guys kept on going and going and going and telling lies about me.”

He made a formal statement to gardaí last year, alleging a litany of improper conduct against various individuals.

He is “surprised” at the slow progress of the investigation into his allegations. He thinks this is “because the narrative has been for the last 10 years that it’s all Seán Quinn’s fault...”.

His aim now is to change that narrative.

Asked if has any influence over what’s been happening, he replied: “Of course I have.”

Asked if he could have stopped the sabotage, he replied that if he were to “go out and tell lies on behalf of” the targets of the attacks “...it probably would never have happened...But I’m not going to tell lies for all that they have done…”.

Quinn claims the Cavan Fermanagh Leitrim community group — a group of local Quinn supporters — plans to sue the Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC) in Northern Ireland.

“On the grounds that they were to buy the business and give it back to the local community and they didn’t do it. In fact, they gave shares to the management team,” he says.

He is not “a member” but supports them: “I will do anything I can do in my power to get those boys out.”

Insisting he does not want his company back, he was asked what he does want.

“Vindication. A wronged party righted — not financially, but in the mind of the public. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve a million in the bank or a thousand in the bank when you die,” he says.

“Would you want to die as a rat? Or would you want to die as a gangster? Or would you want to die as someone who has stolen goods or taken goods that didn’t belong to them. I wouldn’t want to die as that person.”

He has taken part in a three-part documentary about his life to be broadcast by RTÉ.

A spokesman for Mannok issued two lines over the weekend,

They said: “Baseless allegations by Sean Quinn are now a perennial occurrence and only serve to undermine his condemnation of those engaged in intimidation and violence who evidently are sympathetic of his views”.

They added: “From a safety perspective his comments are concerning but we remain encouraged at the commitment of police services north and south to identify the paymaster and those doing the paymaster’s bidding.

Asked for his reaction to the conviction of three men this month over the 2019 kidnapping, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said recently that they expected to charge more suspects soon.

“That’s a good start, but work to do,” he said. “We have a lot to investigate yet and get to the bottom of. When one engages in long-term acts of criminal deception, then you do leave a trail. And there’s persistence and diligence on our part to uncover that trail.”

A cross-Border criminal investigation was continuing into the suspected “wider conspiracy”, including financial transactions, the commissioner said.

“What I would say is the rule of law and order will prevail,” he added. “There were three convictions yesterday, which are very welcome. The investigation in effect carries on. It doesn’t start from yesterday. There’s more files to be submitted [to prosecutors] and the further investigation carries on.”

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