The son of former billionaire Seán Quinn has taken a case for unfair dismissal against Quinn Insurance after claiming he was forced to accept redundancy from his €75,000 job as a senior executive in the group.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin heard yesterday that Seán Quinn Jr also claims he was victimised and harassed as a member of the Quinn family after the company founded by his father was placed into administration in Mar 2010.
The tribunal heard evidence that Mr Quinn believed he was singled out by the company’s administrators for redundancy because they wanted to clear his family out of the business.
Mr Quinn and his family lost control of the group after Quinn Insurance was placed in administration by the High Court on foot of an application by the Financial Regulator over concerns about how the business was being operated.
The joint administrator, Michael McAteer of accountancy firm Grant Thornton, gave evidence that Mr Quinn’s role was as a liaison between the company and its UK brokers at the time of his appointment.
However, Mr McAteer said the company ceased writing all new business in the UK immediately as it had been substantially loss-making.
He said Mr Quinn did not have any particular defined role in the company subsequently, which contradicted Mr Quinn’s assertion that he was head of claims.
“I’m not sure what work he was doing,” he said, adding that Mr Quinn remained a director but with no executive powers after the company was placed in administration.
He described a meeting with Mr Quinn in Jun 2011 to discuss his position following the sale of Quinn Insurance to Liberty Mutual as “fraught” and “robust”.
He said Liberty was not interested in reopening the UK market and so he provided Mr Quinn with a list of alternative vacancies within the company. He recalled that Mr Quinn said none of the positions were suitable and that the meeting merely represented a “box-ticking exercise”.
Mr Quinn also allegedly remarked: “Why don’t you be a man and sack me?”
On Jun 20, 2011, Mr McAteer wrote to Mr Quinn to say that any other positions which had become available required technical and professional qualifications which Mr Quinn did not have. Therefore, Quinn Insurance had no option but to proceed with making him redundant with a package worth €76,538 which included an ex-gratia payment of €62,538.
Mr Quinn refused to sign a severance agreement and only ever received the statutory redundancy payment of €13,608.
Tribunal chairman Tom Ryan said it would examine if a genuine redundancy had existed and if Mr Quinn had been fairly selected for losing his job.
Mr Quinn, aged 33, from Alder Lodge, Farmleigh Woods, Castleknock, attended the hearing accompanied by his sister, Aoife, but did not give evidence.
The hearing was adjourned until Jul 18.
- Meath County Council announced yesterday that it has bought the former Quinn Insurance building in Navan for €5.15m.
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