A public collapse in family fortunes

The Quinns of Cavan/Fermanagh may not like the comparisons drawn between themselves and the fictional Ewings of Dallas.

However, the parallels were inescapable, given the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by the five children of Seán Quinn, who thrived on the business empire built from nothing by their father.

The collapse of the family’s multi-billion euro international business has also cast the spotlight on their own personal circumstances and their fall from grace.

As part of the price being paid by the family’s gamble on shares in Anglo Irish Bank, the five children of Seán Quinn have had to apply to the High Court in Dublin for access to living expenses after €50m in their collective bank accounts was frozen by order as part of the legal action by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) to recoup millions of euro owed to the bank.

Details of the personal financial situations of the offspring of the man who was once Ireland’s richest, with an estimated wealth of almost €5bn, have consequently been aired in public.

Although the Quinns acknowledge that they owe €455m to the zombie bank, they dispute IBRC’s claims that the bank is owed a further €2.5bn as a result of the collapse of their extensive business empire, which spanned industries as diverse as cement, glass, insurance, hotels, and property development in Ireland, Britain, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

While some are now jobless (and one is in prison for a minimum of three months), they continue to enjoy income that would be the envy of many households on the average industrial wage of €36,000.

It emerged just last month that members of the Quinn family have received €2.8m in payments since Apr 2011 from property investments in Russia which were previously unknown.

However, monthly living expenses of €8,000 granted by the High Court earlier this summer have now been revised downwards.

* Seán Quinn Jr, aged 33, who is serving a three-month sentence at the Training Unit in Mountjoy Jail for contempt of court, was granted monthly living expenses of €5,723, including an allowance to pay £800 (€1,010) rent on a property in Belfast.

He previously owned the Belfry golf complex in England, which hosted the Ryder Cup in 2002.

Seán Jr married Karen Woods last May, holding a lavish reception at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on the Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow, in the middle of their legal proceedings with IBRC.

Karen has been allowed monthly living expenses of €2,895, including mortgage repayments on rental properties in Clonsilla and Kimmage. She is a part-time receptionist at a Dublin car dealership, Joe Duffy Motors. The couple, whose normal residence is in Castleknock, Co Dublin, received over €720,000 from Russian investments since Apr 2011.

* Colette Quinn, 36, who once ran the family’s Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, now works at a joinery firm in Maghera, Co Derry.

The High Court allowed the married mother-of-one monthly expenses of €3,743, which includes €250 relating to her new baby and a further €400 in medical expenses.

Court documents show that among expenses she claimed was €150 for three sessions of acupuncture. She previously owned the Ibis and Hilton hotels in Prague and was paid €339,921 from the family’s Russian investments in the past 15 months.

* Ciara Quinn, 35, and her solicitor husband Niall McPartland, both currently unemployed, have been allowed monthly living expenses of €8,184. This included a one-off payment for expenses related to the upcoming birth of their third child, and repair work on their home. Expense receipts filed in the High Court showed the couple still owe €290 on a €5,490 bill from the birth of their second child at Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin.

Ciara previously worked at Quinn Insurance, while she also owned the Hilton Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria.

She received €620,969 from investments in Russia since Apr 2011.

* Aoife Quinn, 30, and husband Stephen Kelly who both previously worked in Quinn Insurance, recently moved to Britain, where they are attempting to find employment in York. They were granted living expenses of €7,775 for August, including an allowance for the birth of their first child. The figure falls to €5,375 per month from September.

Since Apr 2011 Aoife received €639,076 from Russian investments.

* Youngest sibling Brenda, 25, has an annual salary of £20,000 as an accounts assistant at a building firm in Co Down. She previously worked at Quinn Insurance while being the named owner of the Slieve Russell Hotel. Brenda was granted €2,995 monthly expenses.

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