Sunday 24 September 2017

Quinn chief targeted in arson attack 'won't be intimidated'

Group condemns latest 'terror' threat

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

THE chief executive of the Quinn Group insisted yesterday he would not be intimidated following an arson attack on this home in which his car was gutted and fire damage was caused to his house and that of a neighbour.

It is the latest incident in a campaign of intimidation and sabotage which has been waged against Paul O'Brien and a number of the group's sites since Anglo Irish Bank took over Sean Quinn's former empire last April.

However, Quinn Group said last night the "personal nature of this cowardly attack" on Mr O'Brien's home "represents a serious crossing of the line".

Gardai have appealed for witnesses who saw anything suspicious in the area around Mr O'Brien's home at Fox Lodge Woods, a housing estate in Ratoath, Co Meath, on Monday night to contact them.

The arsonists struck just before 11pm, setting a BMW in the driveway ablaze. The car was completely destroyed while the front of the house was damaged along with a neighbouring house. Mr O'Brien and his family were not at home.

In a statement last night, the Quinn Group described it as a "terrorist attack".

"We will not be intimidated by the actions of a small group of thugs and vandals and would ask anyone who has information to contact either the gardai or the PSNI," it said.

Destroyed

The group said the perpetrators of the attack on Mr O'Brien's home are also behind a series of arson incidents which have damaged property and machinery belonging to the company.

As recently as last month, arsonists destroyed a number of vehicles at a tarmac plant owned by the group in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

"The incidents began almost immediately after the appointment of a share receiver to the group last April and the removal of Sean Quinn as chairman.

"All of the incidents which have taken place since April last are clearly aimed at destabilising the group's businesses and putting the livelihoods of thousands of Quinn workers at risk," said the statement.

It is understood that new executives at the group have taken steps to protect their personal security on foot of threats and intimidation.

However, a spokesman for the group refused to say whether Mr O'Brien's security would be beefed up further following this latest attack.

Mr O'Brien has previously described the campaign of intimidation as "downright intolerable" and said it was not going to help protect jobs.

Gardai have asked anyone with information to contact Ashbourne garda station on 01 8010600 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.

Irish Independent

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