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Seán Quinn: 100 per cent of prison inmates felt I shouldn't be there

The bankrupt businessman has given an interview to the BBC just hours after his release from Mountjoy Prison where he spent the last nine weeks.

Seán Quinn in tears at a rally held for his benefit in Cavan last year.
Seán Quinn in tears at a rally held for his benefit in Cavan last year.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE BANKRUPT BUSINESSMAN Seán Quinn has said that 100 per cent of his fellow inmates at Mountjoy Prison felt he should not have been there in his first interview since being released from prison today.

Quinn, who was once the richest man in Ireland, was released from the prison in Dublin today having spent the last nine weeks in jail.

The High Court in Dublin had found him in contempt of court for violating court orders preventing him from putting assets beyond the reach of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) which claims it is owed over €2 billion.

In an interview with BBC Newsline tonight, the 66-year-old described his prison spell as “tough” but said he tried to “fit in” to jail life.

“I could fit in with most environments and I fitted in,” he told the BBC.

“The staff were very good, very professional, but of course, when you find a door slamming at nine o’clock at night, it’s not nice. It’s not something I was used to and it’s not something I felt I deserved.”

Quinn said that he “wasn’t always mad about the food” but said that it was a “learning experience” to meet people who went through “different experiences over their lifetime”.

“I wouldn’t call it frightening but it was certainly one that would make you think,” he said.

‘Genuinely no idea’

Quinn, who had three days compassionate relief over Christmas where he returned home to his family in Ballyconnell in Co Cavan, said that he did not feel he should have been in prison in the first place.

He said the view was shared by his fellow prisoners: “I think 100 per cent of them felt I shouldn’t be there.

“I certainly felt I shouldn’t be there, after creating 7,000 jobs, after never in my life owing anybody a penny. Never in my life did I steal a penny or take a penny that didn’t belong to me,” he added.

Quinn said it was possible he could return to jail in the future and said he had “genuinely no idea” what the bank, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, would do next.

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IBRC has been pursuing Quinn and his family through the courts in recent months alleging that it is owed more than €2.3 billion, attempting to recover that money through Quinn assets based worldwide.

IBRC lawyers allege that the Quinn family have attempted to put assets beyond its reach with the High Court finding Quinn and his son Seán jr in contempt of court last year.

Seán jr has already served a three month prison sentence but his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, who was also sentenced to 90 days in Mountjoy for the same offence, has evaded a Garda arrest warrant having travelled north of the border and remained there since sentencing.

The Quinns claim that the Anglo loans were illegal and were used to prop up the bank’s falling share price in the months prior to its collapse and subsequent government takeover in 2009.

Read: Seán Quinn released from Mountjoy after nine-week sentence for contempt

More: Everything you need to know about the Quinn saga, but were afraid to ask

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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