Belfast Telegraph

Irish politicians condemn 'cowardly' attack on Kevin Lunney

Tanaiste Simon Coveney
Tanaiste Simon Coveney

By Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said those behind the "cowardly" and "brutal" attack on a Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executive must be brought to justice.

His remarks on the horrifying abduction and assault on Kevin Lunney came as pressure was applied to the Irish Government to outline what it will do to halt the intimidation and attacks on QIH staff.

Mr Lunney (50) was kidnapped near his Co Fermanagh home and was found with serious injuries on Tuesday night in Co Cavan.

It is the worst in a series of attacks on QIH staff and property in recent years.

"I am really horrified by that attack, I condemn it absolutely, it was a very cowardly act and brutal act, too," said Mr Varadkar.

He added: "We're going to make sure that Garda resources are put behind this, that there's co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI.

"What we really need here is arrests and convictions."

The Taoiseach said he had spoken to DUP leader Arlene Foster about the incident and had received a briefing from Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Earlier in the Dail, Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary claimed there has been a sense of "complacency" surrounding the attacks and a perception that the perpetrators are "getting away with it".

Mr Calleary said it's that kind of attack "we thought had ended on this island".

He quoted the chairman of QIH, Adrian Barden, who said he is frustrated and angry that more had not been done to protect Mr Lunney.

The Fianna Fail TD said there "seems to have been a complacency" about dealing with the issue and pursuing those responsible.

He asked what the Irish Government has done in the last two days to ensure extra Garda resources are made available and there is co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney responded saying the response from the PSNI and the Garda must be "robust" and he added that "it will be".

"We cannot allow this type of brutal intimidation which is a reminder of the kind of gangland or paramilitary punishment beatings of the past. I don't say that lightly," said Mr Coveney, who described it as a "shocking incident".

He added: "There is an obligation on communities living in the area. There are many people who know who these people are and know who is behind the brutality, intimidation and total lawlessness in terms of what happened. They need to come forward to the PSNI and Garda if they have any information."

He condemned the "shocking" attack on Mr Lunney and said the Garda and PSNI will "relentlessly pursue" those responsible.

Mr Coveney said the relationship between both police organisations is stronger than ever and Garda numbers in the border area have increased by 150 to 1,500 members since 2017. He noted there is to be a new armed support unit based in Cavan.

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