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Former business tycoon Sean Quinn Photo by: PA

Former billionaire Sean Quinn jailed for contempt of court

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Former business tycoon Sean Quinn Photo by: PA

Sean Quinn, formerly Ireland's wealthiest man, has been jailed for failing to comply with a court order. 

On Friday, a judge at Dublin's High Court said she had no choice but to sentence the former business tycoon to nine weeks in prison.

In June, he was found guilty of contempt of court, for hiding assets from the  former Anglo Irish Bank, but avoided a jail sentence.

In his latest court appearance, Justice Elizabeth Dunne said he had committed a serious contempt of court, which was nothing short of outrageous because of his evasive and unco-operative attitude.

On the eve of his latest court appearence, a grassroots campaign established to support the beleaguered businessman warned the press this week of potential 'civil unrest' if he goes to jail or succumbs to illness as a result of ongoing legal battles.

The group Concerned Irish Citizens (CIC) made its warning as the Irish High Court is set to rule whether the 66-year-old, who has had two heart operations, should be sent to jail for breaking court orders.

CIC says it condemns any acts of violence and vandalism. 'There is civil unrest, but we don't want it exploding in the wrong way,' Patricia Gilheany, secretary of CIC, told the Irish Independent.

Gilheany said CIC has received reports about the 'confirmed signs of trauma, exhaustion and heartbreak' experienced by Quinn, who was formerly Ireland's richest man, and his wife Patricia, at a recent support rally in Ballyconnell, County Cavan.

'Many have also commented that if Sean Quinn or any of his family drop dead from the sheer pressure and stress that they are being subjected to on a daily basis, there will be very serious consequences for their perpetrators and for those who facilitated this horror,' said Gilheany.

The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which was formerly Anglo Irish Bank, has a visible security detail surrounding its key bank personnel at all court appearances. Last year, a new chief executive appointed to the Quinn Group had his family car completely destroyed by an arson attack at his home in County Meath.

Earlier this month lawyers retained by Sean Quinn told the High Court he wants to purge his contempt, and is willing to cooperate with the former Anglo Irish Bank. 

Quinn's companies once employed 5,500 people in Ireland, but now he will be bankrupt into his 70s, Grant added. Quinn also had serious health problems Grant claimed.

Quinn has maintained his denial of being in contempt of court orders restraining stripping of assets, and has appealed the High Court's finding that he was in contempt. The court should defer any decision on jailing Quinn pending that appeal, Grant urged.

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