Quinn chairman angry Kevin Lunney didn’t have better protection
Outrage as NI businessman left with ‘life-changing’ injuries after he was abducted near home, beaten and dumped across the border
The chairman of Quinn Industrial Holdings said he is “frustrated and angry” that more was not done to protect company director Kevin Lunney from being abducted, severely beaten and dumped across the border.
Police say married father-of-six Mr Lunney (50), who lives a few miles from the Quinn headquarters in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, has been left with life-changing injuries.
The company’s chief operating officer was travelling from work to his Kinawley home at around 6.40pm on Tuesday when he was rammed off the road by a vehiclecar containing four masked men near his secluded home.
He had his leg broken in two places with an iron bar, was stabbed with a Stanley knife across his face, neck and hands and had a number of his fingernails forcibly removed in the terrifying incident.
His captors then tried unsuccessfully to cut Mr Lunney’s clothes off his body, stabbing him in the body as they did so. A balaclava was then placed over his head and bleach was poured over him in an apparent attempt to destroy DNA evidence.
Mr Lunney was then bundled into a vehicle before being dumped on a roadside at Cornafean, Co Cavan, 22 miles away. A passerby found him badly injured but conscious at a rural crossroads at 9pm and he was rushed to hospital.
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Sources have revealed that the attack appears to have been organised to coincide with an annual board meeting due to take place yesterday.
As soon as gardaí and the PSNI were alerted, officers were dispatched to the homes of four other senior executives. The company’s US-based bankers and bond holders who were to attend the meeting were immediately advised not to travel. Some who had just arrived in Ireland took the first flight back to the US.
The PSNI and Garda have launched a joint investigation, but the company’s chairman, Adrian Barden, said it’s just the latest in a series of attacks on staff and that the warning signs were there that something more serious was about to happen.
“Kevin Lunney’s abduction and assault is an outrageous attack on a hard-working father of six children but also on his 830 colleagues and the wider community in the Cavan-Fermanagh region,” said Mr Barden.
“For several hours Kevin’s wife, family and friends were left to contemplate the worst.
“Like many of his colleagues I am frustrated and angry that more has not been done to protect Kevin who will require some considerable time to recover from this brutal attack.”
Mr Barden called on police forces on both sides of the border to “act quickly and decisively to prevent an inevitable loss of life” by “bringing those responsible to justice”.
Last year a car belonging to the company’s chief finance officer was set on fire outside his home, while posters marked “wanted” and branding Mr Lunney and other directors “traitors” appeared in Derrylin.
In February, Mr Lunney’s nose was broken in an attack at a service station in Co Cavan.
PSNI Superintendent Clive Beatty said that Mr Lunney was arriving home on Tuesday evening when his vehicle was rammed. Mr Lunney’s car and another vehicle were later found on fire nearby.
“Mr Lunney locked himself in the vehicle but four masked men appeared, smashed the windows of Mr Lunney’s vehicle, forcibly removed him, bundled him into the boot of a black Audi saloon and drove him away,” he said.
“He was removed from the vehicle at an unknown location and savagely beaten.
“He sustained severe and brutal injuries to his legs, torso and face, then was then bundled into another vehicle and driven for another short period of time and then he was dumped on the side of the road just outside Cavan to fend for himself with his severe injuries.”
A passer-by found Mr Lunney at around 9pm and contacted the emergency services. He said the victim could “barely talk”.
“At first we thought he had been hit by a car,” the man, who did not want to be named, said.
“He told us who he was, he said he had been taken by men in balaclavas and beaten.”
Mr Beatty said the incident was the “most severe and savage” of the recent series of attacks on the company and its executives.
“We are at a very early stage of our investigation and we are keeping an open mind but this has been an ongoing situation in that area for some time,” he said.
“Police are well aware of the complexities and difficulties that this has had. This is the most severe and savage attack to date at this particular company.”
Mr Beatty said there had been an additional police presence around the company’s premises over the last two days, as a board of directors conference was being held.
“We have briefly spoken to Mr Lunney, he was able to tell us some information but his injuries are severe and savage,” he added. “Although not life-threatening, they will be definitely life-changing.”
In a statement, the Quinn family said they were “absolutely horrified to hear of the terrible ordeal” which Mr Lunney endured.
They added: “The Quinn family has repeatedly condemned these types of attacks in the strongest possible terms and we will always do so. Those carrying out these despicable acts are not doing so for our benefit in any shape or form.”