People Power and Quinn


The gathering of 4,000 who assembled in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan over the weekend in support of Sean Quinn and his family was surely an example of the anger and disgust that ordinary decent people in this country react to when they sincerely believe that one of their community has been wronged and set up as a criminal when such is untrue. Oh yes of course we all know that Sean Quinn foolishly invested his money in certain doubtful projects but it must be remembered that thousands of others throughout the country also took a chance with their investments and lost heavily because they put their faith and their money into financial institutions that let them down.

It is surely true that Sean Quinn’s dealings, particularly with the Anglo Irish Bank, was the source of much of his financial trouble and misfortune. But in spite of this there are many thousands of people who believe that Sean Quinn is an honest and decent person and that basically the mistakes that he made were never intended to harm anybody or even the country financially or otherwise, these were just the decisions of a person who believed in his heart that he was doing the right thing at that particular time but who knows now in hindsight that he was foolish in putting too much trust in others and in financial institutions run by too many devious individuals and who were never brought to account for their actions. During his time, as head of a hugely successful industrial company, Sean Quinn created thousands of well paid jobs, there are few individuals in this country who have done more to create employment for workers on both sides of the border.

The assembly of 4,000 people in Ballyconnell who came to support the Quinn family at the weekend and not only that, but also to vent their anger on the way the Quinns have been pestered by the authorities and indeed by certain sections of the media in recent months, all of which has been absolutely disgraceful.

The presence of such high profile people  from around the country including Mickey Harte, the Tyrone football manager, Fr. Brian D’Arcy as well as other GAA icons of renown attended the meeting. Other GAA legends there were Sean Boylan and Colm O’Rourde from Meath, Joe Kernan and Jarleth Burns from Armagh.

After walking through Ballyconnell the demonstrators gathered at a stage in the local GAA Club where they listened to and applauded the speakers, including Sean Quinn himself, Mickey Harte and Fr Brian D’Arcy.

According to media reports some of the protesters carried placards which read “Free Sean Junior, he’s no criminal” while another read “Anglo steals a Business, Quinns get Jail, why?”. Former Meath GAA manager, Sean Boylan, said that every man in this country is entitled  to justice. Colm O’Rourke stated “Nobody should take any solace in the public humiliation of the Quinn family. You never kick a man when he is down”. If the authorities and the banks continue to pursue the Quinn family and treat them as if they are criminals, then there is likely to be a lot more protest meetings and demonstrations seeking and demanding justice and fair play for Sean Quinn and his family because the people living in the border countryside know very well that what Sean Quinn has done for employment has been more than most in this country. Of course he made mistakes but these were neither deliberate or dishonest but because he became involved in transactions with the wrong elements. But the plain people of Ireland are the best judges of who is right or who is wrong and the meeting last weekend in Ballyconnell proved whose side the people power is on. But of course the begrudgers out on the sidelines who never did much for Ireland will be out there howling for the incarceration of the Quinns. If there is any sense of justice left in this country (and many now believe that there is not) the State should turn its attention to all the fat cats who helped to bankrupt this small country and who are now after receiving a golden handshake and a pension of well into the €100,000 bracket for the rest of their lives. Sean Quinn and his family are very far from being in this category and it is only fair to demand that the State and its agents should leave them alone. They have long since contributed in a big way to the economy of our State and deserve better than being hounded by the little upstarts who have never contributed anything worthwhile to the welfare of the country.

But hopefully common sense will finally prevail and the Quinn family will again be recognised and appreciated for all the good that they have accomplished for the economy of our country and that their detractors will finally be noted and seen for what they are.


Water Safety Week

Mike O’Sullivan of Pallaskenry has informed me that a Water Safety Week will commence at Glin Pier on Monday, August 13th at 1pm and all swimmers and others who are interested in water sports and safety measures are welcome to attend on that day or on any of the following days that are convenient to them.


Late Danny Mulvihill

After being away from Athea during the past couple of weeks the news of Danny Mulvihill’s death, which occurred recently, was very much regretted by all of us. Danny, who lived in Dirreen, was very well known and liked by the many people who travelled with him in buses in which he was the driver. Not alone was he a very capable and safe driver but he was also a very interesting person to converse with on a journey and he was always courteous and pleasant with his passengers. Danny was a devoted family man and a great worker all through his life and was at one stage employed by late J.P. Collins of Athea.

Sympathy is extended to his wife Sheila, his sons, daughters, grandchildren, his in-laws and other relatives.

May his soul rest in peace.


Late Michael O’Connor

The death of Mike O’Connor of Markievicz Park, Athea, which occurred during the week, was widely regretted throughout the locality and further afield. Mike, who was a native of Tournafulla, has lived in Athea with his family for several years. He worked as a painter for much of the time and was very much in demand at all times for the fine work he carried out at his job and the satisfaction he gave to his customers. A quiet, retiring man who minded his own business but who also liked to socialise with friends occasionally, he will be very much missed in Athea where he was liked and respected since he came to live here. He had been ill for some time throughout the  summer but his death, nevertheless, came as  a sad blow to his family, relations and neighbours. The removal from Finucane’s Funeral Home was attended by a large gathering of people who called to pay their respects on Saturday evening. The Requiem Mass on Sunday and the funeral later were also well attended.

Sympathy is extended to his wife Biddy, his sons, daughters, grandchildren, his in-laws and other relatives. May his soul rest in peace.


Death of Con Houlihan

The death of well-known writer and newspaper columnist Con Houlihan, which occurred in Dublin over the weekend, was unexpected by many of us as it was only a couple of weeks ago that we read his column in the Sunday World. Con, who was a native of Castleisland, was a brilliant writer who commented regularly on the things he believed in and was never reluctant to express his views even though these might sometimes be controversial. In our early years we used to call to the shop outside the town which, to the best of my knowledge, was run by his mother at the time. When visiting cousins in Castleisland area we would call to the shop to buy sweets and chocolates.

During the late ‘fifties Con was a temporary teacher in Renagown School which was the one we attended, but long before Con’s time there. Con and myself became friends around that time through mutual interests in writing and when late Charlie Lenihan, who was an independent member of Kerry Co. Council, founded the newspaper called the “Taxpayers News” Con Houlihan became its editor. Working in Derbyshire at the time my own contribution to the paper was a series of articles with the title “The Call of the Bright Lights” which was about the Irish workers in England. Years later when home on holiday on one occasion and coming out of Castleisland we met with Con Houlihan bringing home a bucket of spring water from a local well. An English friend of mine who was with us could never understand how the Editor of a newspaper could ever be doing such a task as this and remarked that it was only in Ireland it could happen.

My last meeting with Con Houlihan was several years ago on the day of Dan Spring’s funeral in Tralee. We chatted for a little while but then of course Charlie Lenihan’s “Taxpayers News” had long since become redundant.

In the meantime Con Houlihan will be long remembered for his contribution to Irish journalism. But apart from that he was also a man whom it was good to know.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.