06/05/2010

Quinn Steps Back As Stormont Steps In

Just hours after news that Sean Quinn is to stand down from the board of the troubled Quinn Group, a Stormont nominee is to step in to co-ordinate the NI Government's response to the situation at Quinn Insurance.

The Fermanagh businessman said his decision was based on his need to "concentrate in the short term on family interests outside of Quinn Group" as both he and his wife Patricia stepped back from their board positions.

Last week he revealed plans to sell the insurance arm news that came as administrators announced job losses hitting more than a third of the company's 2,400-strong workforce.

The NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey have now jointly announced the appointment of Leslie Ross, to look after Quinn from their perspective.

The Enterprise Minister said: "Mr Ross will co-ordinate the activities of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department for Employment and Learning, Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland, and local councils in response to the problems facing Quinn Insurance.

"Leslie Ross has extensive experience in economic development, having joined the Industrial Development Board on its formation in 1982.

"His expertise will be a valuable attribute in leading the inter-agency approach to help those facing redundancy," she explained.

Looking to the medium term, Arlene Foster said: "Invest NI will work with Enterprise Ireland when this will be to our mutual benefit.

"Both agencies are already exploring whether funding can be secured through Europe's Interreg IV Programme to support retraining initiatives and help the start-up of businesses in the affected area."

The Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey said: "We must use all resources available to us to help those whose jobs have been lost and provide support and training to make finding another job more achievable.

"The Employment Service already has good working relationships with FÂS (Foras Áiseanna Saothair) the Republic of Ireland's National Training Authority and they will continue to work together.

"Through taking a multi-agency approach to tackling this problem, we can work together to enhance the short and long-term prospects of those people affected," he explained.

"This is crunch time, make no mistake about it. We face a huge challenge on a global scale and we will be judged by our response to it," he concluded.

Arlene Foster added: "Quinn Insurance and the Quinn Group makes an important contribution to the Northern Ireland economy and I want to reassure workers that I will do all I can to secure the future of Quinn Insurance.

"I hope to meet with the Regulator early next week to discuss the various issues that were raised by Quinn employees at a meeting held yesterday."

See: Black Friday Looms For Quinn Insurance

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