Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Lunney attack was carried out by Mafia-style group with own Godfather - parish priest

Abducted: Kevin Lunney
Abducted: Kevin Lunney

A parish priest in Co Cavan is expected to use his homily to condemn the attack on Quinn group executive Kevin Lunney as a modern crucifixion carried out by a Mafia-style group.

Fr Oliver O'Reilly will rebuke those who carried out the assault on the 50-year-old father-of-six, who he said are led by a "Godfather" figure who was financed by people so consumed with hatred they have lost their moral compass.

The priest, who is based in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, said there is an "obvious cancer of evil in our midst that needs to be exorcised before someone is murdered".

He said the vast majority of peace-loving law-abiding people of the area are being "held to ransom by a few unscrupulous individuals who are hugely dangerous" in a homily to be delivered at Masses over the weekend seen by the Irish Times.

Fr O’Reilly said the prolonged torture of a "decent family man" was a "modern form of crucifixion deployed by terrorist groups such as Islamic State".

The priest said he was shocked and angry when he heard of "this depraved act and scandalous attack on an innocent and powerless man by hired savage thugs”.

"This well planned and well organised abduction could only have happened when some person with ulterior motives agreed to pay these criminals a sum of money and gave instructions on what he required to be done to an unsuspecting victim," he said.

Fr O'Reilly will deliver his homily at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan at 7pm on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday. It will also be delivered at St Dallan’s at Kildallan in the county at 10am on Sunday.

"Some devious people are so consumed with hatred and enmity that they lose their moral compass and are prepared to hire the most ruthless of criminals to achieve their sinister goals,” he will tell the congregation.

He said the attack on Mr Lunney, who had the letters QIH carved into his chest and damage done to his face with a Stanley knife as well as having his leg broken in two places and bleach poured over his wounds, was a "well planned and well organised abduction" which "could only have happened when some person with ulterior motives agreed to pay these criminals a sum of money and gave instructions on what he required to be done to an unsuspecting victim".

"This senseless atrocity follows years of threats, abuse, lies and various forms of violent intimidation, against the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings," he will say.

"Maybe some people in our region need to examine their consciences about their angry rants at public meetings and defamatory statements on one or more social media sites.

"They need to face the truth that their diatribes added to that climate of intimidation and incited hatred leading up to this dark deed. Let them now take responsibility for their actions and learn lessons.”

He will tell parishioners the "long reign of terror" now threatens "the lives and livelihoods" of everybody living in the Cavan, Fermanagh and Leitrim border region.

Fr O'Reilly will attack  what he described as "the false narrative" being pushed by a "small group of people in our midst" that the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings are usurpers.

He will describe them as "quality leaders who courageously took on the management of this company at a time of crisis".

"These men lost their jobs at the time of administration and only came back at the end of 2014 to manage this company in order to save jobs in our region,” he will say.

"They have excelled in their endeavours and expanded the workforce to 830 staff. Our support and respect for them has been well earned, and is well deserved.”

He will say that he and many like him had been "far too complacent" about the campaign of violence waged against the Quinn group directors, thinking it would peter out eventually.

Fr O'Reilly will apologise for this to Mr Lunney, his family and Quinn management, saying "we have all been hoodwinked".

"I now believe there has been a Mafia style group with its own ‘Godfather’ operating in our region for some time behind the scenes. They have decided to ratchet up the intimidation.

"The rubicon has now been crossed by this most recent barbaric assault."

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