Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 18:42 UK

Quinn administrators meet Fermanagh staff

Quinn Insurance employs 600 people in County Fermanagh
Quinn Insurance employs 600 people in County Fermanagh

Employees at Quinn Insurance said a meeting with administrators in Enniskillen earlier was "positive".

The High Court in Dublin put the company into administration last week for breaching solvency rules.

The company, which employs about 600 people in Fermanagh, was also ordered not to write any new UK business.

A new plan aimed at lifting the ban on Quinn doing business in the UK was presented to the Irish Republic's Financial Regulator on Thursday.

A rally in support of the employees at Quinn Insurance is taking place in Enniskillen on Thursday evening. Another planned for outside the regulator's office in Dublin on Friday has been cancelled.

Caroline Donnelly, a workers representative at Quinn insurance, said staff had been reassured by the meeting and that the administrators had let them voice their concerns.

"They reassured people they were doing everything they could," she said.

"They were treating the business as a going concern, they were trying to keep everything running as normal and would be doing everything in their power... to get the company up and running again as it should be."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said it is vital for the wider economic stability of County Fermanagh that jobs are kept at Quinn Insurance.

Ms Foster discussed the situation with Irish Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, on Wednesday.

Pressure

The Financial Regulator in the Irish Republic, Matthew Elderfield, successfully argued in court that in effect the company had failed to follow rules for financing insurance claim cover.

Mr Elderfield, said that money from the insurance arm of the company was being used as security for bank loans made to other parts of the Quinn Group.

The fear was if the banks called in their loans then policy-holders could be left in the lurch, though Quinn insisted there was no chance of that happening.

Over the past few days Quinn employees and politicians have put pressure on Mr Elderfield to overturn both the administration and the ban on undertaking new business in the UK.

Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein said she hoped the new business plan for Quinn Insurance would "have the assurances the administrator needs to make a recommendation to the regulator".

The majority of the work at the Enniskillen base is the underwriting of UK insurance policies, putting jobs in County Fermanagh at risk.

Fearghal McKinney, SDLP, has said "all avenues must be explored" to protect the jobs of those employed by Quinn Insurance.

Tom Elliott, Ulster Unionist, met staff representatives of the Quinn Group last week and said the company should be given time "to negotiate a refinancing package and no obstacles should be put in place by the regulator which will damage one of the largest and most successful companies in Ireland."

A crowd of up to 1,000 people took part in a rally organised by the Cavan Chamber of Commerce in the town centre on Wednesday evening in support of the workers at Quinn Insurance.



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