Monday 14 October 2019

Kevin Lunney attack: Investigating gardaí release details of distinctive van

  • Gardai and the PSNI now appealing for information on a distinctive van
  • Quinn Industrial Holdings businessman Kevin Lunney suffered life-changing injuries when he was kidnapped and badly beaten last Tuesday
  • Number of properties in the Cavan area have been searched, gardai have already seized a horsebox in which they believe Mr Lunney was attacked in
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
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Gardai and the PSNI investigating the abduction and attack on Quinn Industrial Holdings businessman Kevin Lunney last week are now appealing for information on a distinctive van.

Mr Lunney is still in hospital after being tortured and attacked, having his leg broken in two places and suffering knife wounds.

The 50-year-old suffered life-changing injuries when he was kidnapped and badly beaten last Tuesday before being left at the side of the road in Co Cavan.

He was taken from his home in Fermanagh by a group of four masked men, before being dumped across the border in County Cavan and discovered by a farmer.

Kevin Lunney (Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA)
Kevin Lunney (Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA)

A number of properties in the Cavan area have been searched and gardai have already seized a horsebox in which they believe Mr Lunney was attacked in.

It is being tested for DNA traces which could identify the attackers.

Today the attention turned to a white 'hi-roof' transit type van.

"This van is in poor repair and may have a loose 'screeching' fan belt. This van has a distinctive painted red floor or partially red floor in the rear cargo area," a garda spokesman said in an appeal for information from the public.

"An Garda Siochana would like to speak to any person who knows of a similar vehicle, it's current whereabouts, or any person who knows who may have had access to that vehicle on the evening of Tuesday September 17," he added.

"Gardai continue to appeal to any person in the wider Cavan area extending from Ballyconnell/Belturbet to Cavan Town, Ballinagh and the townland of Drumbrade who saw a black saloon Audi on Tuesday September 17 between the hours of 6pm and 10pm, or any person with dashcam footage along the N87, N3, N55 and local roads, to make contact."

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

Reaction

During Leaders’ Questions on Wednesday, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the attack was a reminder of the "terrible legacy in the border region" which did not end with the Good Friday Agreement.

PSNI forensic officers examine a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney in Kilawley, Co Fermanagh. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
PSNI forensic officers examine a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney in Kilawley, Co Fermanagh. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

"Groups of people trying to avoid forensic, getting people to isolated locations and beating people almost to death, so it’s a terrible legacy in the border region and we’ve got to face up to it.

"Certain paramilitaries carried on, enforcing and protecting a financial empire, the 2018 cross-border threat assessment say 43% of gangs in Northern Ireland have cross-border dimension.

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
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

"The time has come to establish a statutory cross-border multi-disciplinary agency with a specific budget and personnel to once and for all root this evil out.

"Task forces will not cut it anymore, people want go about their lives without threats and intimidation."

Heather Humphries, standing in for the Taoiseach, who is currently in America, said she was "horrified personally to hear about attack on Kevin Lunney, a decent hard-working man I’ve known for many years".

She said: "We will ensure that the necessary resources are in place to make sure the perpetrators of this horrific attack will be brought to justice.

"These criminals are not supported by the communities in the region, I am limited in what I can say due to the significant investigation, but every resource and the full weight of the Garda Siochana and their specialist unit have been placed at the disposal of investigators in Cavan, and they are determined to find those responsible."

Ms Humphries added that she will ask the government to give consideration to Mr Martin’s proposal.

Mr Martin recalled the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) after the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996, and labelled the attack on Mr Lunney a similar turning point.

"This has gone on decades at this stage, the existing operation is not working, the PSNI and Gardai work well in terms of foiling bomb attacks and so on, but there is an alternative world going on here.

"There is huge fear, which has roots in a corrosive legacy, and it didn’t stop after the Good Friday Agreement, people have an empire there.

"When the late Veronica Guerin was murdered, that sparked the establishment of the CAB, it demanded such a response, I think the assault on Mr Lunney is the last straw in terms of giving protection and quality of life to people of the region.

"That is why it needs a [new cross-border statutory agency], and we’re going to reintroduce this legislation and I want you to go back to the Government and have an open mind to establish a cross-border agency to once and for all to take on these thugs."

Anyone who has any information on this criminal attack, or other criminal activities which have taken place in the Cavan/ Fermanagh border area over recent years, to make contact with An Garda Siochana at Cavan Garda Station 049 4368800, the Garda Confidential Number 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

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