SEÁN Quinn has some cheek.
Some bloody cheek.
The man who played his part in the bank that broke this country a decade ago, and for which we are still paying, made himself a victim.
In the wake of the brutal and savage abduction and attack on his former colleague and close associate, Kevin Lunney, Quinn found himself on The Joe Finnegan Show on Shannonside Northern Side FM on Wednesday.
Describing the horrific event, PSNI Superintendent Clive Beatty said Lunney’s car was rammed by another vehicle and disabled: “Mr Lunney locked himself in the vehicle, but four masked men appeared, smashed the windows of Mr Lunney’s vehicle, forcibly removed him from the vehicle, and bundled him into the boot of a black Audi saloon and drove him away from his home.”
“They drove for a period of time, to an unknown location, whereupon he was removed from the vehicle and savagely beaten about the body. He sustained severe and brutal injuries to his legs, torso, and face. After this savage attack, he was then bundled into another vehicle and driven for another short period of time, and then he was dumped on the side of the road, just outside Cavan, to fend for himself, with his severe injuries,” Supt Beatty said.
He said a passer-by found Lunney and contacted the emergency services.
Earlier this year, Lunney had his nose broken during an attack, while another director of the company had boiling water thrown in his face.
Supt Beatty said there had been an additional police presence around the company’s premises over the last two days, as a board-of-directors conference was being held. He said Lunney has been left with “life-changing” injuries:
“We have briefly spoken to Mr Lunney. He was able to tell us some information, but his injuries are severe and savage. Although not life-threatening, they will be definitely life-changing and he is assisting us with the inquiry as much as he can.”
One cannot even imagine the horror Lunney and his family have gone through and are still going through.
In his interview with Finnegan, Quinn condemned the “barbaric attack” but it took him less than one minute and 40 seconds to cast himself and his family as victims: “My family is outraged as well and they fear that we will take flack for this.”
To justify his position, Quinn pointed out that “these guys pushed me out and sacked me over three years ago” and he had not been involved in the company since then.
While saying the attack “just doesn’t make any sense, that’s not what moral individuals do to each other”, he said he is disappointed that people are “blaming” him.
Quinn, repeatedly throughout the 12-minute interview, cast himself and his family as “victims”.
He told Finnegan that his own family were concerned that they “would be blamed for this. What do they want me to do? Hang from the cross? I was never involved in violence; we’re not into that.”
“All I can do is send out my condolences to Kevin and Bronagh and whatever number of children they have. Express my sympathy to them. My view is you wouldn’t do that to a dog. It is not natural; it is barbaric,” he said.
Quinn added that “the whole Quinn fiasco” had been calming down prior to this attack: “People were moving on with their lives.”
He said he did not want to be associated with what had happened: “People who are doing this are not for us; they are going to damage us. How can we be blamed for this? What do people want me to do?”
Quinn said that the ill-feeling could be resolved if Quinn executives met with the community to address concerns, rather than issuing legal proceedings:
“Intervention would help to get some sense of this thing. We’re out of it, but there is an ongoing problem. I’m not blaming anyone, but proceedings shouldn’t be in court; they should sit around a table. I am disappointed people are always coming back to me. Since I left there, since I was sacked, current executives and directors have issued legal proceedings against former directors, managers, staff, neighbours, and friends. There is an awful lot of conflict down there. It is not me. I haven’t been involved for the past three-and-a-half years.”
“It’s a pity the media don’t ask some of the victims of the legal cases brought against them, rather than coming through to me. I’m gone,” he added.
Quinn’s condemnation must be taken at face value, but pivoting the interview to the impact on his own family was blood-boiling.
Not once did he wish Lunney well in his recovery; not once. But that might have been an oversight.
But for all of his carping and moaning to Joe Finnegan, Seán Quinn is not a victim.
We, the Irish taxpayers, are the victims.
Due to his hubris and gambling on Anglo Irish bank shares, then finance minister, Michael Noonan, published a new insurance bill to place a 2% levy on almost all insurance premiums — creating a pool of money to be used to cover the losses of Quinn Insurance.
The scheme was similar to the government-sanctioned levy on insurance policies to cover the collapse of PMPA insurance in 1983 — which led to a similar levy being put on most insurance policies for nearly a decade afterwards.
Quinn Insurance went into receivership after Anglo Irish Bank moved to claim around €2.8bn owed to it by Seán Quinn and his companies. Quinn had borrowed the money to place bets on the movement of Anglo’s share price, eventually running up debts in the region of €2.8bn.
When handing down the jail sentence on Quinn in 2013, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said: “In my view, he has only himself to blame,” before he was taken away to Mountjoy prison.
“On a human level, you’d have to feel sorry for him, but, then, he made enormous mistakes. All that business of buying shares in Anglo and the contracts for difference, up to the point where he had the right to buy 25% of Anglo.
“Those shares are now not worth anything; no value. That’s why there is no asset to underpin the personal borrowings of Sean Quinn,” Noonan assessed at the time of announcing the levy.
It will take more than a decade for the proposed new insurance levy to cover the outstanding losses incurred from the separate collapses of Quinn Insurance and Setanta, an Oireachtas committee was told last year.
At a meeting of the joint committee on finance, representatives from Insurance Ireland and from the Central Bank said the balance of the deficit from both collapses stood at €872m.
So, spare us the victimhood, spare us your outrage, and remember who the real victims are.