Published Friday, 02 November 2012
Sean Quinn arrives at the Supreme Court in Dublin. (© PA)
The now bankrupt Fermanagh man had previously been found guilty of contempt of court, alongside his son and nephew, after hiding millions in assets from the former Anglo Irish Bank.
In passing sentence, the judge told a tearful Quinn he "has only himself to blame" for his plight.
According to UTV Business Editor Jamie Delargy, who was at the court, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne would have allowed a stay of execution until after an appeal is heard at the Supreme Court.
But Mr Quinn was given until 1pm to decide if he would begin his sentence at once and the 66-year-old opted to do so.
He will remain behind bars over Christmas and New Year, before being due for release on 4 January.
For 64 of my 66 years, I made very little mistakes. I ran my business very, very well.
Quinn's legal team appealed for compassionate leave to attend a granddaughter's christening on 23 December, but the judge said that was a decision for the Prison Service.
Passing sentence, Judge Dunne said she took into account Quinn's bad health, previous good character, how his enterprise became one of the largest in the country, his close links with the GAA and his charity work.
But she said Quinn had committed a serious contempt of court which had been nothing short of outrageous, and had been evasive and uncooperative during the hearing, while his evidence was not credible.
In a dramatic breach of court rules, Quinn made a statement to the press before being led away by a Garda officer.
"Did I make mistakes in the last two years? Did my family make mistakes in the last two years? Yes, I did," he told reporters.
"Do I apologise here now in public for that? Yes, I do.
"Is it small fry compared to the overall assault that has been launched on us and taking over our companies and destroying them? It's an absolute disaster."
His son, also Sean, has already served three months behind bars for contempt and was freed just two weeks ago.
His nephew Peter Darragh Quinn remains at large after failing to appear in court for sentencing in July.
The Quinn family are said to owe the Anglo, rebranded as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, €2.8bn - but they deny they owe any more than €455m and have taken a counter-claim.
© UTV News