Four members of the same family have been arrested in the cross-Border police investigation into the campaign of violence against the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH).
This is the second tranche of arrests to be made in the massive probe involving gardaí and the PSNI since the abduction and torture of QIH director Kevin Lunney last September.
The Irish Independent understands that three members of the same family were arrested early yesterday morning by the PSNI in Co Fermanagh, while a fourth member of the same family was arrested by gardaí in Co Cavan.
Two men, aged 23 and 61, and one woman, aged 61, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and assisting offenders. They were taken into custody at Omagh police station where they were being questioned by detectives.
In Cavan, An Garda Síochána arrested a man in his 30s for an offence contrary to section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006. He was detained at Cavan Garda Station.
The operation marks a new phase in the investigation as gardaí have made "major progress" in the case, including uncovering the money trail used by Border gang boss Cyril McGuinness.
The senior criminal was nicknamed 'Dublin Jimmy' and died last November during a police raid in England.
The Irish Independent recently revealed that the discovery of a number of bank accounts that were used by bogus front companies set up in the Republic on behalf of McGuinness may lead directly to the mysterious 'paymaster' who paid him to orchestrate the campaign of violence.
The arrests also come in the wake of an attempted arson attack at the home of a relative of one of the QIH directors in Co Fermanagh last month, when two men tried to set fire to a nearby truck and a second vehicle. However, the would-be arsonists were disturbed and sped off before any damage was done. The incident was captured on CCTV.
Security chiefs fear the incident marked a resumption of violence against the QIH executives, which had ceased following the abduction and torture of Mr Lunney last September. There had been quiet optimism that the campaign of intimidation would end permanently following the death of McGuinness.
In January, senior gardaí informed the five directors of QIH who have been targeted - including Mr Lunney - that the threat level against each of them was as "high as it has ever been".
"Today's arrests demonstrate An Garda Síochána's ongoing commitment, working closely with the PSNI, and is a further significant step to ensuring that the perpetrators of this vicious attack will be brought to justice," Chief Superintendent John O Reilly, of Cavan-Monaghan Garda Division, said yesterday.