|The chief acknowledges his subjects at the coss-Border rally in Ballyconnell.|
The exhortation that all ‘Border people’ should come out in support of bankrupt billionaire Seán Quinn and his family is just as troubling as the troupe of widely known GAA stalwarts who lined up to pay homage to the ‘Mighty Quinn’ at Sunday’s rally in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan.
Their projection of an alternative constituency of rural solidarity based on shared values of 'home and hearth', almost disguises the incredibly slick public relations campaign now underway.
That the campaign is centred on the periphery of both jurisdictions – while one of the main players is using its convenient escape route to avoid jail for ‘contempt of court’ – is almost sheer genius.
Yet there is nothing spontaneous or innocent about the scale and potential of this PR campaign.
|Some of the people, all of the time.|
Seán Quinn fastidiously avoided his ‘enemy’ until everything was in place. His carefully chosen first foray into the media campaign was with the local Northern Sound radio and the local papers in Fermanagh and Cavan. Next his ‘fugitive’ nephew was featured at a couple of local football matches – in the company of his former GAA president dad – and then came the rally which appears to be the first of a snowball sequence.
So even after all the highly troubling and detailed exposure by BBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick of the Quinns’ sophisticated criminal manipulation of assets through dubious channels in Russia; clear and proven breaches of specific court orders; and unequivocal findings by respected judges that this was blatant contempt of the law to cheat Irish taxpayers on an unprecedented scale, the Empire has struck back.
The bandwagon struck up on Sunday and the ‘Border people’ and all those who share their honest, down-to-earth family values are expected to clamber aboard.
|Sure, isn't he one of our own!|
Suddenly a high-roller casino capitalist – who wagered his entire ‘empire’ (and all its subjects) in a golden Gordon Gekko moment of quintessential greed – is pleading the poor mouth.
Suddenly the man who failed to achieve bankruptcy on his own terms in Belfast High Court is now the victim of bankruptcy, hounded by the Irish courts, the ‘Dublin media’ and, most of all, Anglo-Irish Bank.
Suddenly the family which has siphoned off hundreds of millions worth of assets in breach of court orders, is facing ‘debtors’ prison’ or ‘walking the roads’ after summary eviction.
Where will it end? The novel notion that the true Irish values of honesty, decency and family solidarity maintain a lonely residence on the border between Fermanagh and Cavan is a powerful incentive for those who refuse to acknowledge the facts.
They line up to hail their chief, backed by an array of GAA leaders who, quite frankly, should be ashamed of the message they are conveying.
Meanwhile, the notion that there is even such a constituency as the ‘Border people’ is news to us at the Frontier Post, where we maintain a vigil on a vast array of communities and districts which did not benefit from the Quinn Group, even in the ‘good times’.One thing for sure if this campaign succeeds though is that we’ll all be picking up the tab while the Quinns laugh all the way to Belize.