Wednesday 23 October 2019

Boxer faces being quizzed over separate attack on businessman

Probe: PSNI officers at the scene of the abduction. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Probe: PSNI officers at the scene of the abduction. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Ken Foy

An amateur boxer has been arrested on suspicion of breaking the nose of a businessman in February who in a separate attack on Tuesday was kidnapped and tortured.

PSNI detectives arrested Bernard McGovern (22) at his home on Thursday morning just a day after company director Kevin Lunney (50) suffered "life-changing" injuries in a savage incident.

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Mr McGovern is wanted in the Republic of Ireland over claims that he attacked the Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executive earlier this year.

He is also being sought for alleged involvement in throwing a cup of hot water in the face of Mr Lunney's colleague, Dara O'Reilly, during the same incident in Co Cavan.

Mr McGovern, of Springtown Road, Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, appeared before Belfast Recorders' Court following his detention on a European Arrest Warrant.

Adjourning extradition proceedings, Judge David McFarland granted bail after being told Mr McGovern would agree to be interviewed by gardaí investigating the attack.

The Recorder directed that he must attend Ballyconnell garda station within seven days.

Mr McGovern is not accused of any role in the events on Tuesday when Mr Lunney was abducted close to his home.

In that incident the executive was beaten, stabbed and dumped by a roadside across the Border in Co Cavan.

He is a director in a company made up of elements of the former business empire founded by ex-tycoon Seán Quinn Sr. Mr Quinn, at one time Ireland's richest man, has repeatedly and publicly condemned any targeting of those now running QIH.

McGovern is facing extradition proceedings in connection with alleged attacks at a service station on February 1.

Counsel for Irish authorities told the hearing: "The allegation before the court in the Republic of Ireland is that the requested person assaulted, causing harm, to both these individuals.

"Mr Lunney suffered a broken nose, and Mr O'Reilly had a cup of hot water poured onto his face."

The barrister disclosed that a direction to prosecute by indictment was issued in May.

Stephen Toal, defending, said his client does not consent to extradition but will make voluntary arrangements to speak to gardaí.

Referring to the latest attack on the businessman, Mr Toal stressed: "Whatever happened to Mr Lunney in the recent past has nothing to do with this particular requested person."

In March, Mr Lunney secured an order at the High Court in Belfast to restrain Mr McGovern from any further alleged harassment.

Seán Quinn repeatedly condemned all alleged attacks on those now running QIH including in a radio interview yesterday morning about the latest horrifying incident and in statements issued to the media in the aftermath of it.

Mr Lunney was found by local residents just before 9pm on Tuesday and brought to Cavan General Hospital where he remained last night.

He had his leg broken in two places with an iron bar, was stabbed with a knife across his face, neck and hands and had a number of fingernails cut off in the terrifying ordeal.

His captors then tried unsuccessfully to cut Mr Lunney's clothes off his body, stabbing him in the body as they did so.

Irish Independent

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