Posted on 3rd December 2022

This week I was riveted by watching RTE’S ‘ Quinn Country’  about the rise and fall of Sean Quinn.  I remember at the time some people from his neck of the woods didn’t take too kindly to some of the things I wrote about him.  I hope they found the programme illuminating.  There is no question that by sheer grit, determination, courage and imagination he built a thriving business in an area that was both deprived and ignored.  Quinn struck me as almost a tribal chieftain.  Maybe that was the way he saw himself, although there was much emphasis  on the concentration of the wealth it generated being in the family.   However in one central aspect of his business empire, he was delusional.  He thought when the insurance premiums rolled in he was literally rolling in it.  He wasn’t.  Quinn Insurance failed to build up reserves to meet losses.  This was pretty basic stuff.  It is why we have an Insurance Regulator, to try to stop this kind of reckless behaviour.  We are all still paying the price through the levy for Quinn’s losses.  People tend to forget this.  So Sean Quinn was not a business genius and I haven’t even touched on Anglo Irish Bank yet.  CFD’s, or Contract for Differences, are in my view dangerous financial instruments.  It enables a gambler to play for high stakes without paying for it unless the share price falls.   You really need to know what you are doing.  Sean Quinn did not.  It was gambling plain and simple, reckless and irresponsible.  Sean Quinn likes to speak of himself in the third person and in my view that third person needs to ask himself whether he is to blame for any of the violence and intimidation arising out of the business collapse that he caused.  After all, one central question remains.  Who was the Paymaster behind those crimes and in particular the abduction and brutal detention of Kevin Lunney ?

One likes to be able to read the straws in the wind.  This week the holding aloft of a blank sheet of paper by the Chinese signifies defiance against the oppressive rule in China of Xi Jinping.  At the World Cup the Iranian football team showed their opposition to their regime by refusing to sing the national anthem.  Maybe the autocracies are no longer in the ascendant.  In China Xi Jinping, fresh from the party conference where he emerged President for life, now faces the most widespread civil disobedience since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.  Now it seems there will shortly be a change in policy on Covid.  On Thursday the President of the European Council Charles Michel  visited Beijing and urged the Chinese President to use his “influence” to ask Russia to respect the UN Charter.  On the home front life is getting a little difficult for Vlad the Bad.  On Wednesday Russia announced it was withdrawing its troops from a significant part of southern Kherson.  By any measure a humiliation.  It is also clear that despite extensive State control of the media, the news of serious losses of both troops and morale is spreading amongst the Russian people.  Now as the savage cold of winter starts to bite it is all the more important to stand behind Ukraine.  That vile despot may yet be toppled.

The view of Slane Castle from the hill