Belfast Telegraph

Gangster Cyril McGuinness ordered watch on Quinn chiefs weeks before kidnap

Cyril McGuinness
Cyril McGuinness

By Staff Reporters

Gangster Cyril McGuinness recruited two Dublin-based criminals to carry out surveillance on the five directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings in the weeks leading up to the abduction and torture of Fermanagh man Kevin Lunney.

Reliable sources have revealed McGuinness, who dropped dead during a police raid at his UK safe house last week, ordered the intelligence gathering operation as he could not initially decide which of the five directors he would kidnap.

It is understood his associates used a van to surveil the homes and workplaces of the men to establish their routines and routes to and from work.

Other members of McGuinness' gang, believed to be about a dozen in total, were also involved in secretly monitoring the movements of QIH directors Liam McCaffrey, John McCartin, Dara O'Reilly and brothers Tony and Kevin Lunney.

The crime boss and the so-called 'paymaster' had agreed to scale back the campaign of threats and intimidation to lull the directors into a false sense of security before making their move.

The attack was timed to coincide with a board meeting between the company directors and international investors which was due to take place in Derrylin on the morning after the attack but was cancelled. The executives representing the company's three main financial backers, who had arrived in Dublin around the time Kevin Lunney was abducted, returned to the US after being told their security could not be assured.

The 'paymaster' gave McGuinness specific instructions on what his associates were to say and do to Kevin Lunney in an attempt to force the resignations of the five directors to try and cause the sale of the companies that employ over 800 people in the region. Meanwhile, the unprecedented joint investigation between gardai and the PSNI has benefited greatly from the sudden demise of Cyril 'Dublin Jimmy' McGuinness as local people and criminals are now less scared to come forward with information.

One member of McGuinness' gang from Co Cavan is reported by local people to be displaying the signs of extreme stress and was seen crying in the company of a relative shortly after the Lunney kidnap shocked the nation.

It is known that the gang made several mistakes such as not following McGuinness' orders to dispose of a number of vehicles, including a van seized by gardai three weeks ago which is thought to have been used during the gang's surveillance.

Apart from the two Dublin criminals, the other suspects identified as being involved in the abduction and torture of Mr Lunney are a father and son, two brothers and at least two other associates, all of whom live in the same general geographical region of the Cavan/Leitrim/Longford border.

Most of the suspects are criminals who are lifelong republican supporters and hangers-on who align themselves to dissident IRA gangs as it bolsters their fear factor in the border region, making them appear untouchable.

One of the principal suspects is a longtime associate of McGuinness who was involved with him in a number of major criminal rackets including illegal fly-tipping, smuggling and the theft of plant and farm machinery in the Republic, the UK and across Europe.

McGuinness spent time at his associate's home in the weeks leading up to the Lunney abduction as he planned the horrific crime.

Intelligence sources have also revealed that one of their acquaintances is the notorious IRA godfather and multi-millionaire smuggler Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

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