West Cavan Councillor, John Paul Feeley called on the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank and the Chief Executive of Anglo-Irish Bank to set out in detail the reasons why the Quinn/Anglo Bid had not been presented to the Joint Administrators for consideration in the ongoing sale process of Quinn Insurance Limited.
Speaking at a specially convened meeting of Cavan County Council today (18th January 2011), the Fianna Fáil representative noted the contribution of the Quinn Group across many areas of economic activity in Ireland, from hospitality and construction materials through to insurance. In each area the Quinn Group has opened up the market for the consumer stated Councillor Feeley.
‘The Quinn Group has been to the fore in economic development in this country. They have transformed the employment situation in this region and have almost four thousand people employed across Ireland. They represent about 10% of the working population of this county Quinn Insurance represents about 60% of those who work in services in Cavan Town. We must, in these difficult times, protect any enterprise that employs that many people. This is not to mention the thousands of others who benefit from the spin-off from the Quinn Group. It is only right that this Council comes together for a Special Meeting for the second time to underline our concerns and those of the people we represent.’
Turning to the Quinn Insurance situation the West Cavan Councillor stated that the employees of Quinn Insurance were in the front line at present. They, their families and friends have had to endure the anxious times since last March. They have had to worry about the future and about the serious problems that face their employer, problems that they had no part in creating.
Addressing the Chief Executive of Cavan County Enterprise Centre, who was present at the meeting also, Councillor Feeley complemented him, the County Council, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the other parties involved in the Taskforce to assist those already made redundant.
‘While good work has been done by the Taskforce, our intention is that no more employees of Quinn Insurance or the wider Quinn Group should face the prospect of redundancy,’ stated Councillor Feeley.
‘We all face this situation as taxpayers, looking to see the debt due to Anglo-Irish repaid, many of us are policy holders of Quinn Insurance Limited, we are members of communities made up of people who are employed by the Quinn Group or indirectly as a result of the spin-off from Quinn. From all of those prospectives the Quinn/Anglo Deal as presented seems the most appropriate to save jobs and protect economic activity in this region and throughout the country, stated Feeley.
Noting that outside of this region there are elements in the national media and at political level who are happy to decry the activities of Sean Quinn and his business but give no credit for the huge economic importance that this business has been to Ireland and the huge effect it has had on
employment and competition and the potential that lies therein in the future.
‘I welcome at a local level the ongoing cross party and cross community efforts on this huge challenge. As Kevin Lunney of the Quinn Group set out last Friday in the Hotel Kilmore (public meeting convened by Cavan Chamber of Commerce), all Oireachtas Member from Cavan and Monaghan have had an input into the preparation of the Quinn/Anglo Bid. Minister Brendan Smith set out his support for such a bid on RTE last April subject to its commercial assessment. This proposal enjoys full support from across the local community,’ stated Councillor Feeley.
Expressing disappointment at the failure of the Bid to go to the Administrators for consideration, Councillor Feeley welcomed the agreement of Oireachtas Members to seek meetings with Anglo Management, the Financial Regulator and the Administrators to get clarification on why the bid did not progress.
‘Huge work has been done by all involved in this project. This constructive proposal deserved full consideration. If there were any deficiencies Quinn should be given every opportunity to address them and have the bid on the table, in the interest of employment. It is the least that the Quinn Group and their staff deserve stated Feeley.
The Council meeting concluded with cross party agreement to seek meeting with the Regulator and Anglo-Irish Management to put the views of elected members directly to them and to emphasise the need to give the Quinn/Anglo Bid full consideration.