Monday 21 October 2019

Varadkar condemns ‘cowardly and brutal’ attack on Quinn executive

The Taoiseach said he had spoken to DUP leader Arlene Foster about the incident.

By Aine McMahon PA

The Taoiseach has branded the abduction and beating of businessman Kevin Lunney as “cowardly and brutal”.

Leo Varadkar said he was horrified by the attack on the Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executive.

His comments came after Tanaiste Simon Coveney compared the kidnap and assault to the “gangland paramilitary-style punishment beatings of the past”.

The father of six was attacked as he arrived at his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, on Tuesday.

Mr Lunney, a director at QIH, was driven away before being subjected to a beating at an unknown location.

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

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.

“We’re going to make sure that Garda resources are put behind this, that there’s co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI,” said Mr Varadkar.

“What we really need here is arrests and convictions.”

Earlier, Mr Coveney told the Dail: “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.

“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.”

Other directors of QIH have been the targets of several attacks and acts of intimidation in Co Cavan and Co Fermanagh in recent years.

Mr Coveney added: “This was a shocking incident that I think a lot of people across the country are talking about.

“A completely innocent person coming home from work and getting rammed by a car and then brutally pulled from his car by a masked gang of men and taken across the border in a way that will potentially induce life-changing injuries both mentally and physically, and then left in a ditch.

“This is not what people living in the border counties want or expect and they need to work with both An Garda Siochana and the PSNI to stamp it out and respond to what, quite frankly, could have been a man’s death.”

He said “no stone will be left unturned by An Garda Siochana and the PSNI”.

“The relationship between the PSNI and An Garda is stronger now than it has ever been and this will be a case they will work very closely on,” he said.

Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary said there “appeared to be a complacency in policing” in dealing with the spate of attacks.

Mr Coveney said the number of gardai in the border region where the attack took place has increased by 150 to 1,500 since the end of 2017 and there will be an armed support unit established in Co Cavan.

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