Local supporters bitter over "witch-hunt" for jailed billionaire Sean Quinn

Former business tycoon Sean Quinn

Locals from Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, home of the Quinn Group headquarters, are expressing their bitterness over what they perceive as an unfair "witch-hunt" against the former billionaire Sean Quinn, who was recently sentenced to nine-weeks in jail.

Posters around the town expressed the locals' support for Quinn. Beside a sign for Quinn's cement factory, one read: "Anglo, go home."

"Sean Quinn was the only man who ever did anything for Fermanagh," said Cathal McGovern, a 59-year-old mechanic, told the Irish Independent.

"When I came out to work here 37 years ago, there was nothing in Derrylin. There was one house in the whole village. Everyone who has grown up since the 1970s in this parish has got work with the Quinns."

McGovern and many of his neighbors refuse to believe that Quinn's bankruptcy and legal troubles with the former Anglo Irish Bank was motivated by self-interest.

"The asset stripping, that was his own money. Sean Quinn's biggest problem was money could not rest in his account. He would always be thinking what he could do next."

McGovern recounted how one of Quinn's employees, a father of two who has worked as a truck driver since 1993, received a telegram from Quinn on his wedding day, and how, more recently, Quinn visited him in the family home after the death of the employee's mother.

The father said of Quinn:"The banks are the crooks. It's wrong from the start. Whatever he (Quinn) owed, he would have paid it back."