Stolen oil tanker rams into gates of former Quinn premises
A stolen oil tanker was driven into the front gates of a former Quinn Group premises in Co Fermanagh today in an apparent attempt to blow up the property.
Ownership of the group and premises changed hands three years ago.
In a statement issued this morning, Aventas described the incident as "moronic" and said it was just the latest in a campaign of sabotage the company has endured.
Police on both sides of the border are investigating an attempt to blow up the headquarters of the former Quinn Group in Derrlylin, Co Fermanagh.
Independent.ie can reveal that a stolen oil delivery truck was used in the attack which sources say could have caused “catastrophic damage and put innocent lives at risk”.
The incident occurred around midnight when the truck smashed through security barriers at the building.
The vehicle was reversed up to the reception area where the cab was set alight with the intention of igniting the fuel tank to cause a massive explosion.
Luckily the attack failed because the fuel tanker may not have been full when it was stolen.
The scene remained sealed off for technical examination this afternoon and there is a strong presence of heavily-armed PSNI officers in the area.
The incident is linked to a recent decision by the liquidator to remove the Quinn brand name from the red-bricked building replacing it with a new brand name, “Aventas Group”.
The Quinn logo, which was set in concrete over the front entrance to the administrative offices of the group, was taken off the building on November 30.
Sources close to the company have revealed that there has been an ongoing campaign of intimidation and attempted sabotage at the Quinn companies, which straddle the Cavan/Fermanagh border, since liquidators were appointed to the group on behalf of IBRC in 2011.
This is the second attempt to set fire to the HQ building in Derrlyin.
The group was taken out of the control of former billionaire Sean Quinn who built it up from modest beginnings over 30 years.
But Mr Quinn and his family have repeatedly condemned the attacks and have called for restraint.
A security source said: “These attacks have been ongoing for the past number of years but in recent times the intimidation and threats of violence has increased.
“It is a miracle that the fuel didn’t explode as it was intended to. It would have caused catastrophic damage and the real fear here is that someone is going to be killed.”
Sources have also revealed that the chief suspects for the ongoing campaign are all known members of the Republican movement from Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh, some of whom have close links both to Sinn Fein and dissidents.
Both the PSNI and Gardai have compiled detailed intelligence files on the main suspects who are all known to them.
There have been a number of arson attacks at Quinn factories in the area and in May a Quinn company crane was blown up on a school construction site in Ballinamore, County Leitrim, 10 miles from the Border.
Sources close to new owners of the former Quinn group said the ongoing campaign of violence could “cost local people their jobs if the companies are not allowed to operate”.
A statement from the Aventas group, who are now based in the premises, said two individuals drove “through the bollards at our Head Quarter buildings in Derrylin in a locally-owned oil tanker”.
They confirmed the incident occurred at 10.50pm and added that “it reversed it three times into the doors of one of the buildings, set the cab of the tanker alight and fled in a car driven by a third individual.
The company thanked the PSNI and the local fire services for tending to the incident and preventing a fire.
Aventas said it was business as usual this morning – but they claimed it is the latest in a “continuing campaign of sabotage, intimidation and vilification against this Company and certain of its employees”.
“We are aware that all of these criminal activities are orchestrated by a minority group and their sponsors outside our business, but in the local community. These people have a concerted agenda to undermine and destabilise our business with their own misguided and self-interested agenda in mind.”
The Aventas group pointed out that they changed ownership three years ago.
Belfast Telegraph Digital