Seanad debates

Thursday, 6 May 2010

12:00 pm

Photo of Diarmuid WilsonDiarmuid Wilson (Fianna Fail)

On Friday last, 30 April, the joint administrators appointed by the High Court to Quinn Insurance Limited announced that there were to be 900 voluntary redundancies at Quinn Insurance. The biggest job losses, 305, will be in the Blanchardstown office which has a staff of approximately 800. The head office in Cavan town will lose 226 jobs out of the 700 there, with 121 going in the first phase. In Enniskillen, 179 jobs will go, with 87 going in the first phase. Navan was especially badly hit, with half the workforce, 109 out of 220, going there, and 37 will go in the first phase. In Manchester, 48 out of 100 jobs will go. The redundancy terms offered to staff will include four weeks' pay per year of service on top of the usual statutory entitlements and the joint administrators state that this will result in a saving of approximately €30 million per year for Quinn Insurance.

I welcome the fact that the joint administrators have made it quite clear that Quinn Insurance has a viable future. I again call on the regulator to act with haste, to stop the drip-feed approach that has been adopted by his office and to allow Quinn Insurance to open up the commercial end of its business in the United Kingdom.

Some 95% of the workforce in Quinn Insurance are employed on this island. It is vitally important that the remaining jobs at Quinn Insurance are protected and this can only be done if the regulator allows the joint administrators to start writing commercial business in the United Kingdom. Some 55% of the total business of Quinn Insurance is in Britain and Northern Ireland and 95% of the workforce are employed in this country. I appeal to the administrators to work hard to try to convince the regulator to allow them to start writing commercial business in the United Kingdom.

I was present yesterday at a meeting between the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Deputy Batt O'Keeffe, and a delegation from Quinn Insurance employees. He listened to their concerns and he outlined to them his proposals for providing supports necessary to allow them return to work as quickly as possible. I welcome the fact the Minister yesterday announced the appointment of Mr. Dan Flinter as the chairman of the inter-agency team which will attempt to help those people facing redundancy through no fault of their own. The inter-agency team will co-ordinate the activities of Enterprise Ireland, FÁS, IDA Ireland, the relevant county enterprise boards, the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. I am pleased to report that also in attendance at the meeting in Cavan yesterday was Mr. Colm McEvoy, chief executive officer of County Cavan VEC.

I am also aware that Mr. McEvoy has put a proposal to the Department of Education and Skills to deliver level seven and level eight degree courses at Cavan Institute of Technology, in conjunction with Athlone Institute of Technology. This is part of County Cavan Vocational Education Committee's effort to respond in a meaningful way to the extraordinary situation in which the employees of Quinn Insurance find themselves, 226 of whom are facing redundancy within the next 12 months.

I am impressed with the proposals of the Minister, Deputy Batt O'Keeffe, which he made yesterday. I impress upon him the need to progress these proposals with haste in an effort to facilitate the people concerned, the 900 Quinn Insurance employees, 226 of whom are in Cavan town and facing redundancy through no fault of their own. I impress upon the Minister the need for urgency in this regard.


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