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Attacks on former Quinn firms 'risk death'

By Dearbhail McDonald

Published 16/05/2016

Request: Sean Quinn
Request: Sean Quinn

An interim report into recent attacks on companies formerly owned by businessman Sean Quinn in the border areas of Fermanagh and Cavan has concluded that the risk of injury or death is "quite high".

The assessment, carried out by an overseas corporate risk management firm, is also set to conclude that the escalating campaign of violence and intimidation is being co-ordinated by a senior 'for hire' dissident republican.

The report will say that the republican is acting with a group of up to six others, several of whom are before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin on unrelated matters. Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that she was "very concerned" by ongoing reports and was being kept informed of developments in the region.

"There is the highest level of co-operation between the Garda and PSNI on this issue," said the new Tanaiste.

Sean Quinn snr, who last week requested the operators of a controversial Facebook page set up in his honour to remove it "immediately", has consistently condemned threats made against his former businesses, describing them as "offensive and unacceptable".

The attacks in the region have included death threats, acts of sabotage, discovery of bullets and chilling notes as well as signs warning executives that they "face the gun".

Stones have been used to block access, and a security guard has been chased by a man wielding a gun.

A pig's head was dumped outside the home of a staff member of Quinn Industrial Holdings Limited (QIH), whose directors include Quinn's former senior lieutenants Liam McCaffrey and Dara O'Reilly.

The owner of a crane hire company was also warned to remove his equipment from a wind farm once owned by the Quinn Group before it was "burnt to the ground".

The PSNI and Garda are working jointly to monitor and subdue the threats and attacks, which have prompted several companies to carry out risk assessments because of the duty of care owed to their workers.

QIH recently said that it would not be intimidated by "this self-serving bullying and criminal activity".

The company said it was aware of "reports of upwards of 70 such incidents encountered by staff of other former Quinn Group companies".

Concerns for the safety of staff prompted Carsten Sondergaard, the Danish Ambassador to Ireland, to contact Fitzgerald and her officials after Vestas, a Danish company operating a wind farm formerly owned by the Quinn Group, sought its embassy's assistance.

Quinn snr, a former billionaire and now a discharged bankrupt, made a trimphant return to his former businesses last year when he accepted a €500,000 annual salary to act as a consultant to QIH, which owns the building and packaging division of his former empire.

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