rise and fall | 

Controversial Seán Quinn documentary series to begin airing on RTÉ tonight

The series, which has been delayed twice over fears of repercussions is to air this week.

Eoghan MoloneyIndependent.ie

A controversial documentary series on Seán Quinn which has been delayed twice over fears of repercussions is to air this week.

Quinn Country will chart the rise and fall of business tycoon Séan Quinn across the three-part series to be aired on RTÉ this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The documentary series was over four years in the making, and features candid testimony from Mr Quinn himself.

The Irish Independent reported in June of this year that the series was shelved indefinitely for a second time after kidnap victim Kevin Lunney and his fellow directors at Mr Quinn’s former company, QIH (now Mannok), expressed “grave concerns” that its airing could escalate a campaign of violence against them.

Mannok directors had also declined an invitation to be interviewed by award-winning documentary maker Trevor Birney of Fine Point Films when he began recording the series with Mr Quinn in 2020.

Police on both sides of the Border have informed five directors – Liam McCaffrey, Kevin Lunney, his brother Tony Lunney, John McCartin and Daragh O’Reilly – that despite the death of notorious crime godfather, Cyril McGuinness, aka ‘Dublin Jimmy’ in 2019, the threat level against them remains high.

The series remained on the shelf amid the ongoing threat level against these men, as well as pending appeals by three criminals who were convicted over the Lunney abduction.

RTÉ say the highly-anticipated series “is the story of the man who personified Ireland’s boom and subsequently, its bust”.

In a change to scheduled programmes, Quinn Country will be shown over three consecutive nights at peak time on RTÉ One at 9.35pm, and available to stream on the RTÉ Player.

Made by the award-winning Fine Point Films for RTÉ, Quinn Country is produced and directed by Trevor Birney and produced by Andrew Tully. It cost a reported €500,000 to make.

“With unprecedented access to Seán Quinn, the documentary series tells an extraordinary story. It is the story of how a farmer’s son from Derrylin on the Fermanagh-Cavan border managed to build an empire from the limestone and shale-filled ground on which he was raised.

“Charting the dramatic expansion of the Quinn empire, from manufacturing to hospitality, property and insurance, the series details how Seán Quinn became a ‘chieftain’ to his native region on the border; injecting employment, wealth and hope into a community which in part, remains fiercely loyal to him today.

“This series tells how, over the course of his career, Seán Quinn managed to go from school dropout to one of the richest men in Ireland…only to lose it all,” an RTÉ release on the programme stated.

Quinn Country will tell how the businessmen tied his fortune and that of his businesses to the fate of Anglo Irish Bank, making big bets on the bank’s share price as it tumbled to disaster.

“The State was forced to move in and begin the process of taking control of Quinn’s businesses. What followed were protracted legal battles, a campaign of intimidation and violence, and a brutal attack on one of his former employees.

“This series brings Seán Quinn’s story up to date. It details the latest developments in a gripping saga; the legal battles between the Quinn family and the state, the changing relationship between Quinn and his former colleagues and the campaign of intimidation against companies formerly owned by Quinn, culminating in the horrific attack in 2019 on Seán Quinn’s former right-hand man, Kevin Lunney,” RTÉ said.

Told mainly in Seán Quinn’s own words, this series reveals an enigmatic and divisive character; someone who amassed an unimaginable fortune and then watched it disappear. It is a story about money and power, what it takes to amass them, and the battle to keep hold of them.

Quinn Country airs this Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday night at 9.35pm on RTÉ One & RTE Player.

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