Friday 18 October 2019

'Vicious assault' of abducted businessman Kevin Lunny a 'step up' in intimidation, says Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Picture: Liam McBurney/PA
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Picture: Liam McBurney/PA
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

GARDA Commissioner Drew Harris said that police on both sides of the border were determined to bring to justice the people who kidnapped businessman Kevin Lunney and subjected him to a "very vicious assault".

Mr Harris described the incident as a "considerable step up" in the intimidation and attacks on property related to Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) that have occurred in recent years.

READ MORE: 'Horrific' - Top Quinn Industrial Holdings executive Kevin Lunney has leg broken after being abducted and assaulted

Mr Lunney (50) - a director and chief operating officer of QIH - was returning to his family home in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh from his workplace in nearby Derrylin, Co Fermanagh in the North when he was abducted.

He was found with serious injuries, including a broken leg, at the side of the road in Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan by locals just before 9pm last night.

READ MORE: Attack on Quinn Kevin Lunney raises concerns about plans to restructure garda divisions, Oireachtas committee told

QIH chief operating officer Kevin Lunney. Photo: Oliver McVeigh
QIH chief operating officer Kevin Lunney. Photo: Oliver McVeigh

Speaking before the Oireachtas Justice Committee, Mr Harris was asked about the attack by Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers, who described it as "shocking and deplorable".

Mr Chambers asked what cross-border cooperation was taking place to ensure that the thugs responsible for the intimidation of QIU employees are brought to justice.

Mr Harris said Mr Lunney's kidnapping was a "very serious incident and it was treated as such right from initial report last night."

He said the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) were quickly in touch in relation to a joint response and gardaí are working closely with them.

"A very vicious assault has happened and we are now conducting a full investigation into this matter," he said.

Mr Harris added: "There’s been a number of incidents in recent times in terms of intimidation and attacks on property.

"Those have been very dangerous in themselves and involve... attacks of arson and setting fire to vehicles and damage to buildings as well.

"We are very conscious of this ongoing threat to directors – specifically in this case Mr Lunney – and you can be assured of a really full and active response on our part in terms of the investigation.

"It is entirely unacceptable and an incredible position that people carrying on lawful business and securing employment for local people are treated in this way.

"We are absolutely determined as are, I’m sure, colleagues in the Police Service of Northern Ireland to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Mr Harris could not say if there has as yet been anyone charged in relation to the intimidation and attacks of recent years, but promised to provide the information to the committee.

He said that they have been "difficult investigations".

"The individuals engaged in this go out of their way to make sure that they’re not easy to catch through destruction of evidence and concealing identities, etc.

"But this has certainly been a considerable step up in what’s happened in this direct abduction and then subsequent very serious assault on Mr Lunney.

"We will want to be pursing that with all vigour because we were very concerned last night as this situation developed."

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