The Quinn family are not going away, they are here to stay, according to Sean Quinn, the founder of the Quinn Group.

“As regards the Quinn Group... we had a tough year, a lot of people had a tough year but at the end of the day, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” he said.

Mr Quinn made his comments when he was speaking at the Ulster GAA Writers Awards recently. Hundreds of people attended the event at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Co. Cavan.

Speaking about the winners and losers on the night he said: “I have been a good winner and I have been a proud winner for the past 37 years – this year has not been so good – but I can assure everyone here tonight, the Quinn’s are here to stay – we will be here – we are a great company with great support.”

Earlier this year it emerged that the Quinn family owes $3.7 billion (€2.8 billion) to Anglo Irish Bank, which according to the family, they are committed to repaying.

Thanking his supporters for their help, he also paid tribute to the GAA, describing the organization as his “fallback” during the hard times.

“I would like to thank all those people who supported me and my family over the last 12 trying months – my own family, everyone involved – all my staff and customers. The GAA is a wonderful family and I didn’t know anything else when I was growing up, only Gaelic football. During the dark days over the past two or three years, the GAA was my fallback. I would like to thank all of you,” he said.