Fermanagh GAA has passed a resolution in support of Sean Quinn and his family at its annual county convention. Around 140 delegates attended the convention and they backed a resolution in support of Quinn and his family.
Quinn was once the richest man in Ireland but is now bankrupt and serving a nine-week jail sentence in Dublin for contempt of court. His son Sean has also served a prison sentence for failing to comply with a court order to stop putting international assets out of the reach of IBRC, formerly known as Anglo-Irish Bank. Another key figure in the business empire, Quinn's nephew Peter Quinn, has failed to turn up for court appearances and is evading the authorities in the Republic.
In a statement the GAA county board said Sean Quinn and the Quinn group had been generous backers of the GAA family for a long time. The statement also said that 'his exceptional innovative skills have brought great benefits to all Fermanagh people. Fermanagh GAA wishes to express their best wishes to Sean and his family at this time and hopes that 2013 will bring a favourable conclusion for the Quinn family in their present difficulties.'
However those who saw a television documentary on the Quinn's international business empire may well have a diffent view of the Quinn family.
Moreover some GAA fans and supporters have posted on the internet expressing their disagreement with the Fermanagh GAA resolution and when the Irish News approached Fermanagh GAA for a comment no-one was available.
Back in July senior GAA figures had turned up at a rally in support of Sean Quinn. Mickey Harte, Colm O'Rourke, Jarlath Burns, Joe Kernan and Sean Boylan had all turned up at the rally in Cavan on 29 July, along with Fr Brian D'Arcy. However a former Dublin GAA chief criticised them for giving public support to the Quinn business dynasty. Fine Gael councillor John Bailey, who was chairman of Dublin's GAA board for eleven years, said the was 'shocked' by the support of GAA figures for Sean Quinn. 'The law is the law. Nobody is above the law. GAA figures should not involve themselves in this controversy and it is sending out all the wrong signals. I don't accept for a minute that well-known GAA figures should be seen to be supporting the Quinns.' At the same time Dublin TD Olivia Mitchell said, 'I have absolutely no sympathy for the Quinn family. I believe the Quinns have done a lot of damage to this country.'
Then at the end of September a statement of support for Quinn from a group called Concerned Irish Citizens was read out at half-time at Brewster Park in Enniskillen during the Fermanagh county GAA final. The statement called on GAA fans to attend a rally in support of Sean Quinn in Ballyconnell, county Cavan, on 14 October. The statement urged them to 'oppose the injustices against the Quinn family.'
At first it was support from individual GAA figures, then an announcement at a GAA final and now a formal resolution of support from the Fermanagh county board.
I wonder what those who criticised individual GAA figures for supporting the bankrupt businessman think now that it is formal support from the Fermanagh county board?