The gulf between old Ireland and new Ireland was also evident last week in the fight back by Seán Quinn and his workers to the appointment of provisional administrators from the Financial Regulator's office to their insurance business.
Seán Quinn normally shuns publicity. He has consistently refused to comment on his ill-judged construction of a 28% stake in Anglo Irish that helped bring the bank to its knees and helped sentence generations of Irish taxpayers to sort out the mess. No apologies and no explanation for that.
It is unfortunate that Quinn's interests and the interests of his workers have been confused as one. They have no independent representation as unions are not allowed in the Quinn businesses and the impression given is that the employer and employees' future are intertwined.
Quinn Insurance workers have every right to be angry at the threat to their jobs. However, their anger should not be directed at the Financial Regulator or even the government, who they perceive as unwilling to call off the Regulator.
Seán Quinn is the author of their misfortune. His reckless share purchases, described as "eye watering", are among the largest losses any individual has ever suffered in trading contracts for difference (CFDs). They were made in an era where light regulation was normal. If Ireland is ever to build a trustworthy reputation again, it is vital that we live up to high standards. Old Ireland didn't get that. New Ireland does.
The workers at Quinn Insurance and the communities they support depend on their employment to survive. They are right to make as much noise as they can to preserve their positions. It is a pity that Quinn and his team have wasted so much time in the last 10 days criticising the Financial Regulator's motives rather than addressing his concerns.
The offer of a lifeline to Quinn Insurance by the nationalised Anglo Irish Bank last Thursday is certainly in the interests of Seán Quinn who could continue to own and perhaps run the business. The question is whether the move, promising a €700m cash injection, is in the best interests of Irish taxpayers, Quinn policy holders and Quinn employees.
Seán Quinn's risk-taking thus far has jeopardised the interests of all three groups. While his profits have always been private, his behaviour means his debt may yet be a matter for the general public. In the absence of a last-minute deal, it will be up to the High Court tomorrow to decide if the maintenance of jobs in the border region and the survival of Quinn Insurance are compatible.