Four members of the same family have been arrested in a cross-border police investigation into the campaign of violence against the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings.
This is the second tranche of arrests to be made in the massive probe involving the gardai and the PSNI since the abduction and torture of QIH director Kevin Lunney last September.
It's understood three members of the same family - two men aged 23 and 61 and a 61-year-old woman - were arrested early on Thursday morning by the PSNI in Co Fermanagh. They are being held in Omagh on suspicion of kidnap; GBH and assisting offenders offenders.
A fourth member of the family aged in his 30s was arrested by gardai in Co Cavan on suspicion of assault and is being held in the local gardai station.
Detective Chief Inspector Julie Mullan from PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch said: “The arrests today show the close working partnership between the PSNI and An Garda Siochana and our determination to bring those responsible for this heinous crime before the courts.”
Chief Superintendent John O Reilly, Cavan/ Monaghan Garda Division added: "This is a further significant step to ensuring that the perpetrators of this vicious attack will be brought to justice.”
The operation marks a new phase in the investigation as gardai have made “major progress” in the case including uncovering the money trail used by border gang boss Cyril McGuinness.
Senior criminal McGuinness was nicknamed ‘Dublin Jimmy’ and died last November during a police raid in the UK.
The Irish Independent recently revealed that the discovery of a number of bank accounts that were used by bogus front companies set up in the Republic on behalf of McGuinness may also lead directly to the mysterious ‘paymaster’ who paid McGuinness to orchestrate the campaign of violence.
The arrests also come in the wake of an attempted arson attack at the home of a relative of one of the QIH directors in Co Fermanagh last month when two men tried to set fire to a truck and a jeep which were parked near a family home.
However the would-be arsonists were disturbed and sped off before any damage was done and the incident was captured on CCTV.
Security chiefs fear that the incident marked a resumption of the violence against the QIH executives which had ceased following the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney last September.
There had been quiet optimism that the campaign of intimidation would end permanently following the death of McGuinness, the criminal who had been orchestrating the campaign of intimidation and violence at the behest of the so-called ‘paymaster’.
In January senior gardai informed the five directors of QIH who have been targeted – including Kevin Lunney – that the threat level against each of them is as “high as it has ever been”.
Police are continuing to appeal for information.