Belfast Telegraph

Quinn kidnap gang in chilling threat to kill five bosses

QIH staff in Derrylin
QIH staff in Derrylin
Stephen Kelly
Arlene Foster and Tony Lunney
Kevin Lunney

By Paul Williams, Tom Brady and Ken Foy

The gang that abducted and tortured Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executive Kevin Lunney threatened to kill five members of the management team, according to reports.

Security sources say the chilling threat was made to father-of-six Mr Lunney (50) during a terrifying two-hour ordeal.

The company’s chief operating officer was kidnapped close to his Co Fermanagh home on Tuesday evening in what PSNI and gardaí have described as a well-planned and co-ordinated paramilitary-style attack.

It followed more than 70 recorded incidents over the past two years — including a threat in writing in May warning of “implementing a permanent solution for at least one (of the directors)”.

According to the Irish Independent, the gang warned Mr Lunney during that attack that he and his four fellow directors, who were named, would be murdered unless they resigned their positions.

Yesterday, gardaí raided the homes and property of former republican sympathisers.

The 50-year-old businessman was taken to a second location where gardaí believe he was savagely tortured in a horsebox that had been prepared as a torture chamber.

The gang, which gardaí and the PSNI now believe involved up to a dozen individuals with connections to dissident Republicans and other Border-based criminals, threatened Mr Lunney’s brother Tony, the CEO of QIH Liam McCaffrey, the chairman John McCartin and Dara O’Reilly, the company’s chief financial officer.

Sources have said that Gardaí and PSNI are making good progress in identifying the gang members.

Detectives are now focusing primarily on former members of the Provisional IRA, who are still heavily involved in criminal activities in the Border region.

Officers also believe that lurking in the background are suspected members of the Continuity IRA (CIRA), which has re-emerged as a potent terrorist threat over the past few months.

One of the searches yesterday was at a house and extensive farmyard near the Cavan-Longford boundary and another at a business premises nearby. The searches continued until late into the evening. But there were no arrests.

Gardaí have also identified close associates of a notorious smuggler and ATM thief as suspects in the horror attack.  Associates of mob boss Cyril McGuinness are linked to paramilitaries and have been involved in ATM thefts across the country.

Mr McCaffrey, a chief executive of Quinn Industrial Holding, described the assault and the previous attacks on the business as an “orchestrated terror campaign”.

The kidnapping was deliberately planned to coincide with a major board meeting that was due to take place on Wednesday morning.

This was by far the most serious incident in a five-year campaign of intimidation directed at the five senior QIH executives. Sources at the company have revealed that members of the management team met with senior PSNI and Garda officers where they expressed their “intense anger and frustration at the poor response” they have received from the police over the past five years.

The Irish Independent has learned that one of the directors was “rebuffed and effectively scolded” on the phone by a garda when he tried to report what he understood to be a death threat.

Sources said that Justice Minister Charlie Flanaghan had spoken directly with the executives and assured them that no resources would be spared in the investigation.

Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey, who is in charge of operations, visited Cavan yesterday and pledged the full support of the Garda organisation. Both gardaí and the PSNI have appealed for anyone with information to come forward. A source has said that there was ‘a level of fear’ among Garda officers that they would also be targeted by those responsible for the attack on Mr Lunney.

“The Border region, despite all the hype, is seriously under-staffed and that means the few that are there are open to intimidation and threats with little or no back-up,” the source said.

Yesterday Mr Lunney’s family spoke of their “week from hell” as hundreds of people walked in Derrylin in a show of solidarity.

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