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Priest threatened after criticism of gang who assaulted Quinn boss Lunney


Fr Oliver O’Reilly

Fr Oliver O’Reilly

Kevin Lunney

Kevin Lunney

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Tony Lunney (centre)

Tony Lunney (centre)


Fr Oliver O’Reilly

A priest in Co Cavan has been threatened after he told church-goers that there is an "obvious cancer of evil in our midst that needs to be exorcised before someone is murdered" after the savage abduction and torture of a Fermanagh businessman.

Fr Oliver O'Reilly received loud applause when he used his homily at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Ballyconnell to condemn the assault on Quinn group executive Kevin Lunney.

Later yesterday, the priest, who is in his early 70s, received some negative reaction locally to his comments including an anonymous phone call warning him to "watch yourself".

The brutal attack on September 17 was also condemned by the Catholic Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, yesterday.

Father-of-six Mr Lunney was left with life-changing injuries after being abducted from outside his home in what the priest described "as a modern crucifixion carried out by a Mafia-style group".

He told Sunday morning mass that those responsible for the attack are being led by a "godfather" figure and claims they are financed by people "so consumed with hatred they have lost their moral compass".

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", said Fr O'Reilly in his homily, which was heard by Mr Lunney's brother Tony.

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Fr O'Reilly said the torture of Mr Lunney, which lasted almost three hours, was a "modern form of crucifixion deployed by terrorist groups such as Islamic State".

"This was a depraved act and scandalous attack on an innocent and powerless man by hired savage thugs," he said. "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."

The attack on Mr Lunney was a "well planned and well organised abduction" said Fr O'Reilly 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 said.

"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."

Fr O'Reilly said the "long reign of terror" now threatens "the lives and livelihoods" of everybody living in the border areas of Fermanagh and Cavan.

He said there is a "false narrative" being pushed by a "small group of people in our midst" about the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings.

He said Mr Lunney and his colleagues are "quality leaders who courageously took on the management of this company at a time of crisis".

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