Supermarket proprietor in Ballinamore, Ballyconnell and Belturbet, Padraig Donohoe is giving his backing to the QBRC bid for the former Quinn manufacturing group.
Donohoe has been involved in businesses in the Cavan / Fermanagh border area for the last forty years, as was his father and grandfather.
“In the early days I can remember a lot of hard times – no jobs, no money, no housing, emigration, coupled with the bitterness and despair brought upon us by the troubles – bombings, border security, carnage and deaths in our local area.
“It was also during this time Sean Quinn started to build his empire and the hard times and despair blossomed into jobs, money, housing and a fair share of peace.
“Because of this my business along with all other businesses in the area grew and we all helped to provide peace and prosperity.”
He said “We were all devastated when Quinn was dethroned in 2011.”
He said he followed the news reports, “Quinn Insurance was eventually sold for a single euro to Liberty and hundreds of jobs were lost. Quinn Group was divided between Anglo Irish Bank and the bond holders and Paul O’Brien was made CEO.”
“We all held our breath and hoped this would work. We were promised no job losses and no asset stripping. However when Quinn’s entire senior management were sacked and the company was systematically de-Quinned, by paying off any manager or charge hand who was “close” to Quinn, a few of us felt this was a step too far.”
The Cavan / Fermanagh / Leitrim Community Group was formed and the group met all parties and those involved in the Quinn saga.
They made proposals to help run the group, but there were all refused.
He commented, “all our worst fears have come to pass,” noting jobs lost, plant and assets sold off, no local management, and property sabotaged nearly on a weekly basis, “ and the entire business is now up for sale to the highest bidder.”
He believes that the “loyal staff who supported the company through thick and thin, right up to this day, deserve better than to be flogged of to the highest bidder.”
Donohoe said the Community Group are excited about the entrance of QBRC and their bid for Aventas.
He said, “The QBRC consists of ex Quinn Group senior management who were responsible for the creation of over 6,000 jobs of which 2,500 were in the local border area. During their tenure, which saw several recessions, not one person was ever made redundant.
“We have no doubt this company will have the support of all local communities, staff and customers and have the ability and expertise to restore peace and jobs back in the border region.”
The respected business man says “We need a fresh approach. An opportunity doesn’t often present itself twice. All our businesses are crying out for peace and stability.”
“Do more jobs have to be lost, will all the factories be burnt to the ground or worse will someone get killed before common sense prevails?
“It doesn’t matter who started the war, whether it was the military style ousting of Quinn or the vandals intent on destroying all. Like all wars innocent civilians are getting caught on the crossfire and this has to stop.”
Padraig Donohoe said “All of the main players have left the stage – Quinn, Dukes, Elderfield, Aynsley and others. We must put the company back into the hands of those who can run it and into the hands of the local community.
“Every local politician and business should get behind this bid. Surely the vultures have gorged enough. We never asked for help and we never got it.
“All we want is to breathe life back into the carcass and recreate the oasis we have enjoyed for the last 40 years.”