Tuesday 15 October 2019

Gardaí to quiz men over alleged death threats to Quinn bosses

  • Number of men to be quizzed over sinister death threats made against Quinn Industrial Holding (QIH) directors
  • At least one suspect has been identified after abduction of executive Kevin Lunney last week
  • Investigation is also trying to establish the identity of the person or persons who directed the gang to carry out the attack
Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire
Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire
PSNI officers near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney, an executive of Quinn Industrial holdings, in Kilawley, Co Fermanagh. Photo: Damien Eagers

Tom Brady and Robin Schiller

A number of men are to be quizzed over sinister death threats made against Quinn Industrial Holding (QIH) directors over the past four years.

A cross-Border investigation into a spate of serious incidents, as well as the abduction of QIH executive Kevin Lunney last week, is continuing, and at least one member of the gang has been identified.

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Yesterday, fresh searches were carried out in Cavan as part of the Garda inquiry focusing on sheds and outhouses in the area.

One Cavan criminal, who is suspected of buying bleach in a local shop which was poured over Mr Lunney, has also been identified but not yet arrested.

Kevin Lunney. Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire
Kevin Lunney. Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire

The Irish Independent has also learned that separately, gardaí are expected to quiz several men from Cavan and Leitrim for allegedly issuing death threats.

A number of incidents have been reported to both gardaí and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), but to date, no one has yet been interviewed.

QIH director and chairman John McCartin has confirmed that he received five separate threats at face-to-face meetings with one particular man.

He has confirmed that he reported the individuals who approached him and that he kept contemporaneous notes about each incident.

Investigation: Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney. Photo: Damien Eagers
Investigation: Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney. Photo: Damien Eagers

During Mr Lunney's ordeal last Tuesday, his captors said that he, Mr McCartin and the other three members of the management team would be shot if they didn't resign immediately.

After consulting with company directors, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has asked that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris investigate the Garda responses during the five-year campaign of violence and intimidation, which culminated with the terrifying attack on Mr Lunney.

The investigation of the previously reported threats will form a separate strand to the main investigation into the abduction and torture of Mr Lunney.

As part of that major probe, searches - which got under way shortly before midday yesterday - focused on outhouses and sheds, several kilometres from the Cavan-Longford border. The site is relatively close to the locations of two previous searches of a house and farmyard and business premises by gardaí on Friday.

Investigating officers believe Mr Lunney, the chief operating officer of QIH, was held in a horse box, parked close to sheds, during a horrific ordeal in which one of his legs was broken and he sustained knife wounds to his chest, face and hands.

Officers are satisfied that a crime gang with links to former Provisional IRA members was paid to carry out the attack as part of a campaign of intimidation against five senior executives from QIH, who had all previously received warnings from the thugs to resign from the company.

Mr Lunney's brother Tony, QIH's production director. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mr Lunney's brother Tony, QIH's production director. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The gang is composed of associates of a crime boss who was behind a spate of ATM and other robberies several years ago, who is well-known to the PSNI and police forces overseas.

The investigation is also trying to establish the identity of the person or persons who directed the gang to carry out the attack.

Gardaí believe they know the identity of a man who bought a bottle of bleach on behalf of the gang, around the time that Mr Lunney was being held.

Officers are examining CCTV footage gathered from cameras located near shops in the area.

The bleach was poured over Mr Lunney after he had been savagely beaten and stabbed in an effort to prevent gardaí collecting any DNA evidence which might help identify his kidnappers. The thugs also cut off part of his fingernails during the ordeal.

Gardaí from the Cavan-Monaghan division swooped on the outhouses and sheds yesterday morning to pave the way for a forensic examination of the site by specialists from the technical bureau in the Phoenix Park.

Mr Lunney (50), a father of six, was abducted when his car was rammed as he arriving at his home in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh.

He was bundled into another car and taken to a horse box, where he was attacked.

Irish Independent

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