Quinn Industrial Holdings welcomed a visit by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, MP.
Following a public meeting and a number of social media posts, Quinn Industrial Holdings have hit out at “misinsformation” circulating in the community.
The company have stated they will “take appropriate and robust action commencing with legal action against those propagating misinformation online.”
Their statement also follows an alleged arson attack on a Belturbet business owned by Tony Lunney, a manager at Quinn Industry Holdings.
In a letter written by QIH Chairman Adrian Barden to employees it states, “Regrettably, there has been a resumption of false allegations and intimidation against QIH, its owners, officers and staff.”
It points out that “false information” concerning QIH and its historical relationship with Sean Quinn has been circulated. The published letter notes the “onslaught of negative messaging and false information posted online, as well as physical intimidation against officers, directors and staff of QIH and their families.”
They outline, “QIH is arguably on its strongest footing in the history of the company. Since acquiring the business, QIH has increased employment by a further 190 people, increasing total employees to a record 830 which is a 30% increase since 2014. Sales are up 29% while earnings are up 285% and we have invested €35 million in new production technology, road fleet and mobile plant.”
Setting out their version of the history of QIH, the company say, “In 2014, QBRC presented a business proposal to the Investor Group to acquire the Construction Products and Packaging businesses to fulfil its mission of retaining local jobs and reinvigorating the local economy, whilst generating an acceptable return to the ownership group.”
QBRC’s business plan included reintroducing local senior management who successfully operated the businesses in the past, “with the explicit condition that Sean Quinn could not have a management role or ownership stake in the business given his ongoing legal issues.”
In early 2015, the letter says senior management and QBRC advocated for a consulting role for Sean Quinn and his son and the Investor Group acceded to this request offering Sean and his son substantial consultancy fees, an opportunity to engage positively with the business and a chance to develop a relationship with the Board.
“However, it soon became clear to the ownership group that Sean’s expectations for the business were incompatible with their views.”
“In May 2016 the Board and Sean Quinn mutually agreed to terminate his and Sean Jr’s consultancy agreement.”
The letter concludes saying some “external activity” is “putting jobs and the economic vitality of the community at risk.”
The letter seems to have been written in response to a public meeting organised by Cavan Fermanagh Leitrim Community Group (CFLCG) in support of Sean Quinn on August 21. At that meeting in Ballyconnell, Mr Quinn claimed the QIH business needed “major capital investment” and was very clear that he wants to buy back his former business. He stated, “I don't think there's anybody that would be able to sort it out better.”
He also claimed he was forced out of Quinn Industrial Holdings in 2016. He commented that his company, which he spent 35 years building up, has now “turned into a laughing stock.”
Quinn and others raised concerns about assets being sold, access to raw materials to produce building products and the long-term viability of the business.
Following the release of the QIH letter last week, the Cavan Fermanagh Leitrim Community Group issued a response on their website.
The statement said “It is with a mixture of amusement and disbelief that we read the most recent communication from QIH.
They noted “inaccuracies” in the letter and commented “amazingly they were unwilling to accept the invitation to our meeting and articulate their righteousness there, yet they have worked for 10 days to get a PR communication released?”
The group put forward a number of questions they want the directors of QIH to answer.
They end their statement with “We all know that the Q in QBRC stands for Quinn.”