You know decent people when you meet them. The Quinns are decent people.”
August 1, 2012 1:54 PM   Subscribe

"The Quinns are decent people." At a rally in County Cavan thousands of people showed up to support local business man Seán Quinn. From local sports personalities to high profile priests to ordinary people, they came to support the man once known as Ireland's richest man.

Once a "small farmer who built an empire" Quinn has filed for bankruptcy, is seen as the man behind the collapse of Anglo-Irish Bank, has been charged with contempt, seen his sons arrested, and his nephew go on the run. Is he a victim or just a gambler who lost? Sinn Féin, for one, can't seem to decide how to react to him.
What is the truth about Sean Quinn.
Or is it all really Seanie Fitzpatrick's fault?
posted by Fence (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Fintan O'Toole has an excellent summary in The Irish Times of why the support for Quinn is severely misplaced. And there is another article about why the GAA should not be supporting him either.

Personally, I hope he rots in jail for defrauding Ireland. O'Toole points out that there will be a 2% premium on ALL insurance in Ireland for the next 20 years. The guy is a criminal of the highest order, and the government has been forced to absorb his debts due to his bad business decisions and his criminal behavior. I imagine the people protesting were probably employed by him (or benefited from his economic activity). While it's understandable at some level, it is a pretty backward thing to be doing.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 2:14 PM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]

Its really an amazing story. I guess I read the locals support as "Local lad made good who created jobs in his hometown, being taken down by the established classes in Dublin and London"

The reality of course is that he profited originally by being a hanger on to the near monopoly CRH has in stone and cement and rode the property bubble. He wasn't smart enough to realize that's how he became rich and instead thought he was the smartest guy in the room. He then catastrophically made a hubris filled bet on Anglo-Irish due to his overconfidence, in probably the stupidest way possible using CfDs and when it blew up he tried to use his connections to keep solvent. And when that did happened he tried to lie and steal from the state.

So yeah. Not a lot of empathy.
posted by JPD at 2:16 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Exactly that JPD.His 'Simple peasant farmer wronged by the Dublin 4 elite' schtick is horseshit from start to finish.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:20 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Quinns are crooks, crooks, crooks. What part of taking people's money and selling them unfunded insurance is hard to understand. Yes, he brought a lot of work to rural areas. So does cigarette smuggling. I note a strange lack of rallies in any town that wasn't in his pocket, lock, stock and barrel. Maybe that's because his families blatant theivery has put 2% on everyone in Irelands insurance for everything for the next decade.

No disrespect to the sporting part of GAA but it is part and parcel of Ireland's military-industrial-gombeen-Galway races-sureisntheagreatfella-brownenvelope-justrestinginmyaccount-complex of putting connections over rule of law.

And being disowned the always square dealing SF is quite something.
posted by Damienmce at 2:25 PM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]

The plain people of Ireland, my arse. But the Quinns do have some of the best PR going on that I've ever seen; they've spun this so well that even the 2% surcharge on insurance that is going to bail out Quinn insurance, fecked over by their management, is relegated to a footnote at best. Almost all the news coverage is surprisingly soft, and includes copious winging from Sean Quinn about his agony at seeing his darling boy going to jail. The Indo can't seem to get enough of his tears, for one, and the Irish Times and John Waters run them a close second.

How the whole lot of them are not only not in jail but getting paid living expenses by the tax payer is beyond me.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:14 PM on August 1, 2012

Color me surprised on this one. There are laws for the rich, and the laws for the rest of us. If one of his workers had stolen $1000 from Quinn, he would have moved heaven and earth to have the guy nailed big time.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:07 PM on August 1, 2012

I did a significant amount of work on the Quinn's mansion (apologies for the Daily Mail link) in 2006 and 2007, I've met Sean, his wife and I can't remember which of his kids more than a couple of times.

They were seriously capricious to work with and I have more than a couple of mind boggling stories. I never really thought they had the common touch, but they really rubbed that in when they took the private helicopter up over the site to make sure the front fence was going in straight.

The house is incredibly luxurious and is obviously a very good way to prove you've got a lot of money but holy crap is it horrible, a conclusion I heard Patricia, Sean's wife, came to as well.

I don't really have a point, but common people? My fecking arse.
posted by deadwax at 3:12 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

His 'Simple peasant farmer wronged by the Dublin 4 elite' schtick is horseshit from start to finish.

We just seem to buy that story over and over again though, from Charles Haughey to Bertie Ahern to Padraig Flynn to dozens more. We gave ourselves decades of Fianna Fail, and what the fuck did we think was happening in that tent at the Galway races? Conversations about philosophy? It is just so painfully true that people get the government they deserve, and this support of Quinn is agonising for what it means for the future of Irish politics - we'll re-elect the same goddam arrogant grasping slimy amoral pricks that brought us to our knees in the first place because sure, isn't he from the area, and those fuckers in Dublin are only looking out for themselves.

End rant.
posted by StephenF at 3:41 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe we should all meet up in Ireland to rant about this in person.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:40 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is just so painfully true that people get the government they deserve

"He fixed the road!"
posted by holgate at 10:00 AM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

But that's the thing holgate, this crowd didn't even do that. They took the road away.

I usually try and see things from a variety of perspectives, but in this case, I just can't. I do not understand the people who went out on that rally in support of Quinn. The notion that he somehow did a lot for the community because he created jobs? No! he created jobs because he owned a company and wanted to make money. Pure and simple.
posted by Fence at 10:06 AM on August 2, 2012

To echo Deadwax, the stories about Sean Quinn and his family screwing over local people are abundant. My business partner lived in Fermanagh for a good 12 years and was married to one of those plain farming folk Quinn claims as his own. In the 12 years he was there, he says he never heard a good word about Quinn - always some story about a business deal gone bad or being short paid, if at all. Always some arseache or another.
posted by Grrlscout at 11:42 AM on August 2, 2012

We just seem to buy that story over and over again though, from Charles Haughey to Bertie Ahern to Padraig Flynn to dozens more.

At least Gallagher didn't get the presidency last year, though who do we have to thank for that...
posted by Elmore at 1:38 PM on August 2, 2012

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