Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Lunney attack latest in a long line of chilling incidents to hit Quinn Industrial

Crossroads at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan where Kevin Lunney was found
Crossroads at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan where Kevin Lunney was found
Sean Quinn and his wife Patricia at a rally in support of Quinn and his family in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan in 2012

By Shane Phelan

The content of the anonymous letter addressed to five representatives of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) was chilling.

They were told they were being written to as they had facilitated the sale of manufacturing businesses once controlled by former billionaire Sean Quinn and were now assisting in the disposal of a former Quinn wind farm.

"We are putting you on notice that if the sale is not stopped immediately we will be implementing a permanent solution for at least one of the above," said the letter, sent last May.

One of the five people it was addressed to was Kevin Lunney. It is not known who was behind the threatening note, but read today it looks like a disturbing portent of what was to come.

The father of six was abducted from his home at Derrylin, Co Fermanagh on Tuesday night, tortured and left with a broken leg on the side of the road.

The last few years have seen an extraordinary campaign of intimidation against members of the QIH management team, being waged by people purporting to be supporters of Mr Quinn. This has involved assaults, arson attacks, threatening messages and online harassment.

Mr Quinn has previously condemned attacks and said those responsible were not acting in his name. There is no suggestion he has any link to the incidents.

A curious aspect of the ongoing campaign of intimidation has been the inability of either the Garda or PSNI to bring anyone to justice.

Quizzed about the failure by gardai to get to grips with the situation, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told the Oireachtas Justice Committee: "They are pretty difficult investigations. The individuals who have engaged in this go out of their way to ensure they are not easy to catch through destruction of evidence and concealment of identities."

Tuesday night was not the first time Mr Lunney has been injured. Last February the High Court in Belfast issued a restraining order against amateur boxer Bernard McGovern from Co Fermanagh.

The court heard allegations Mr McGovern broke Mr Lunney's nose during an attack in a service station cafe in Co Cavan.

Barrister Peter Girvan, for Mr Lunney, told the court there had been several serious criminal acts in a campaign aimed at intimidating QIH directors, including arson, industrial sabotage and damage to expensive plant equipment.

'Wanted' posters were put up branding the directors as "traitors" and "thieves".

QIH management team members Liam McCaffrey and Dara O'Reilly were also recipients of the "permanent solution" letter last May.

In March of this year the High Court in Dublin was told they were "very reluctant" witnesses in a civil action following "threats and actions of violence towards them".

Their barrister Ross Gorman said Mr O'Reilly's car had been burnt out before Christmas and boiling water was thrown in his face in February.

It is not just directors and company property that have been targeted. Workers at a company operating wind farms formerly owned by Quinn Group were warned to stay away or "face the bullet" in March 2016.

The chilling handwritten note was left near their premises. It ended with the words "final warning" and was accompanied by three bullets.

To date none of the QIH executives has shown any sign they will walk away, but the severity of the attack on Mr Lunney has taken the campaign against them to another level.

Belfast Telegraph

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