Belfast Telegraph

Amateur boxer broke nose of Quinn Industrial Holdings executive, court told

Belfast High Court.
Belfast High Court.

By Alan Erwin

An amateur boxer allegedly broke the nose of a senior executive in one of businessman Sean Quinn's former companies at a service station cafe, the High Court was told.

A judge was told Kevin Lunney was knocked to the ground and then punched repeatedly in an attack linked to a campaign aimed at vilifying and intimidating him and other directors.

The claims were made as he secured an order restraining Bernard McGovern from any further alleged harassment.

Mr Lunney is a director in County Fermanagh-based firm Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH).

The company is made up of elements of the former business empire founded by ex-tycoon Sean Quinn Sr.

Mr Quinn has repeatedly and publicly condemned all alleged attacks on those now running QIH.

But it was claimed others unhappy that he is no longer in charge of the company are behind a campaign in the Fermanagh area targeting current executives.

Barrister Peter Girvan, for Mr Lunney, said there have been at least six serious criminal acts since 2014, including arson attacks, industrial sabotage and damage to expensive plant equipment.

The court heard 'Wanted' posters and signs have gone up branding the directors as "traitors" and "thieves".

"There were allegations they should face the gun, and claims they should return to the Quinn family their stolen empire," Mr Girvan said.

Mr McGovern, with an address at Springtown in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, is not being accused of involvement in any of those incidents.

But it was claimed that he posted on a Sean Quinn Community page on Facebook to describe Mr Lunney as a "skip rat".

Injunction proceedings were brought against him following an alleged assault at a service station just over the border in Co Cavan last month.

"The defendant is himself a successful amateur boxer, he knows well how to punch and use his fists, which is what he used in the attack on February 1," Mr Girvan contended.

Counsel claimed Mr McGovern threw hot water in the face of another QIH director who was shielded from harm by his glasses.

Mr Lunney was then allegedly punched a number of times while seated, with more blows inflicted as he lay on floor.

The defendant fled after being dragged off the executive by others in the cafe, according to the barrister.

Gardai were contacted and an ambulance called to take Mr Lunney to accident and emergency.

Mr Justice Maguire was told he suffered a broken nose, several bruises and potentially residual eye damage, as well as being left anxious and distressed.

With a Garda criminal investigation into the alleged attack continuing, Mr Lunney has lodged a civil claim for damages.

As part of that action he sought a restraining order against Mr McGovern.

No submissions were made on behalf of the defendant, who has not yet obtained legal aid funding.

An interim injunction was granted banning him from contacting Mr Lunney or going within 100 metres of him.

He is also excluded from being near to the executive's Co Fermanagh home under terms to be reviewed in two weeks time.

Mr Justice Maguire said: "I'm anxious to take proper steps to protect the plaintiff and his immediate family."

But stressing the need to ensure the order was not oppressive, the judge left the door open for Mr McGovern to secure legal representation and participate in future proceedings.

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