The 1,500 jobs at Quinn Insurance appear safe - to the apparent relief of the business's founder Sean Quinn. Julien Behal/PA Wire

Quinn told politicians he "made mistakes" in racking up €2.9bn debt

The fallen businessman acknowledges his failings to local politicians – as over 4,000 employees await confirmation of their jobs.

BUSINESSMAN SEÁN QUINN has that he had “made mistakes” during his career, during a meeting with local politicians geared at trying to secure the future of his multi-billion-euro business empire.

In a meeting yesterday morning in Monaghan, which the Irish Independent describes as ‘poignant’, Quinn – who has lost control of the Quinn Group following Anglo Irish Bank’s move to put it into receivership – admitted that he had made major errors in allowing the group to run up debts of €2.88bn, which have left him on the brink of bankruptcy.

Representatives who attended the meeting said Quinn had been “quite candid” about his own shortcomings, though the Fermanagh man is understood to have been relieved that there would be no significant job losses within the group’s many business operations.

Politicians in attendance are set to relay some of the concerns raised by Quinn at a meeting with finance minister Michael Noonan later in the week.

Those concerns are likely to include whether jobs could be lost at many of the group’s individual operations if they are sold off, with assets like Quinn Insurance, Quinn Healthcare and many of the family’s hotels being lined up for potential sales.

The group is one of Ireland’s largest employers, with Quinn Insurance alone claiming over 1,500 employees while other manufacturing operations account for a further 2,600 jobs.

It is thought, however, that there are no immediate plans to cut those jobs, with the Belfast Telegraph reporting a deal between administrators KPMG and Anglo to safeguard the current employment levels for the time being.

The Independent also reports that Quinn’s five children – all of whom have significant stakes in his business empire – will retain their employment in the group, as part of attempts by Anglo to smooth over the transition to alternative management.

Quinn had racked up major personal losses by investing heavily in ‘contracts for difference’ in Anglo Irish Bank – effectively gambling on the future value of the bank’s shares.

Tom Lyons and Brian Carey’s book The FitzPatrick Tapes revealed that many of those punts were made in the names of Quinn’s children.

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