Belfast Telegraph

I'd be horrified if Sean Quinn was linked to kidnap case, says priest

Sympathy: Fr Brian D'Arcy
Sympathy: Fr Brian D'Arcy

By Sarah MacDonald

Father Brian D'Arcy would be "horrified" if former billionaire Sean Quinn had anything to do with the abduction and torture of Quinn Industrial Holding's director Kevin Lunney.

The priest, who is a close friend of Mr Quinn and also sits on boards of community organisations with Fermanagh businessman Mr Lunney, said that the abduction in September of this year was a "terrible, terrible thing to happen".

"Sean Quinn says it wasn't him - I would be horrified if it was - absolutely horrified if it was," Fr D'Arcy told the Irish Independent.

"He and his family have quite plainly said that it wasn't. This has been running for quite some time and there is a criminal investigation now - and I think the less that amateurs like myself say about it the better. All I do is I try when I am asked, to pour oil on troubled waters when I can."

Fr D'Arcy was one of a number of well-known personalities who took to the streets of Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, in July 2014 in solidarity with the embattled Quinn family.

Fr D'Arcy said that the situation involving Quinn Industrial Holdings is "very difficult" and he has huge sympathy for Mr Lunney.

Four men have been charged with assault causing harm and false imprisonment.

"I am on several boards with Kevin Lunney - the Fermanagh Trust, I am still on that with Kevin Lunney," he added.

"I know Kevin very well and he is a very good fellow and what happened to him was just incredibly awful - terrible, terrible thing to happen." Fr D'Arcy stressed that jobs in the area must not be lost.

In a homily last September, local priest Fr Oliver O'Reilly strongly condemned the vicious attack.

The priest also called out the "Mafia-style group with its own godfather" who he believed was responsible for the attack.

Fr D'Arcy is this month celebrating the Golden Jubilee of his ordination on December 20, 1969, and the 74-year-old also said he would have been a far better priest had he been able to marry. He said "compulsory celibacy is damaging" and he fears he spent too much energy over his 50 years being a good celibate rather than a good priest.

"The bottom line is to try to be a good priest and whether that is as a celibate or in a married union - a good priest is the most important thing, not whether you are celibate or not," he said.

However, the popular cleric also revealed that "to the best of my knowledge I didn't cause anybody to sin against chastity and I myself hopefully did not either".

Marriage, he said, is not mainly about sex but "companionship, maturity and another voice in your life; it is about thinking of others and having something else at the centre of your life rather than being a bachelor rattling around in a house somewhere on his own.

"I don't think that can ever be healthy," he added.

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