Tuesday 15 October 2019

Kevin Lunney attack carried out by 'a Mafia-style group with its own Godfather', priest tells church

Victim: Kevin Lunney was beaten, slashed and tortured. Picture: Lorraine Teevan
Victim: Kevin Lunney was beaten, slashed and tortured. Picture: Lorraine Teevan
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A parish priest in Co Cavan used him his homily to condemn the attack on Quinn group executive Kevin Lunney as a modern crucifixion carried out by a Mafia-style group.

Fr Oliver O'Reilly rebuked those who assaulted the 50-year-old father-of-six. Fr O'Reilly said the attackers were led by a "Godfather" figure who was financed by people so consumed with hatred they had lost their moral compass.

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READ MORE: Kevin Lunney attack Q&A: Who are the suspects and what are the chances of justice?

The priest, who is based in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, said there was an "obvious cancer of evil in our midst that needs to be exorcised before someone is murdered".

in a homily he delivered at a Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan at 7pm tonight He said the vast majority of peace-loving law-abiding people of the area were being "held to ransom by a few unscrupulous individuals who are hugely dangerous".

Fr O’Reilly said the prolonged torture of a "decent family man" was a "modern form of crucifixion deployed by terrorist groups such as Islamic State".

Fr. Oliver O'Reilly. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Fr. Oliver O'Reilly. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

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The priest said he was shocked and angry when he heard of "this depraved act and scandalous attack on an innocent and powerless man by hired savage thugs”.

"This well-planned and well-organised abduction could only have happened when some person with ulterior motives agreed to pay these criminals a sum of money and gave instructions on what he required to be done to an unsuspecting victim," he said.

Fr O'Reilly will deliver the same homily in Ballyconnell at 11:30am tomorrow. It will also be delivered at St Dallan’s at Kildallan in the county at 10am tomorrow.

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"Some devious people are so consumed with hatred and enmity that they lose their moral compass and are prepared to hire the most ruthless of criminals to achieve their sinister goals,” he told the congregation.

He said the attack on Mr Lunney - who had the letters QIH carved into his chest and damage done to his face with a Stanley knife as well as having his leg broken in two places and bleach poured over his wounds - was A "well-planned and well-organised abduction".

"This senseless atrocity follows years of threats, abuse, lies and various forms of violent intimidation, against the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings," he said.

"Maybe some people in our region need to examine their consciences about their angry rants at public meetings and defamatory statements on one or more social media sites.

"They need to face the truth that their diatribes added to that climate of intimidation and incited hatred leading up to this dark deed. Let them now take responsibility for their actions and learn lessons.”

He told parishioners that the "long reign of terror" now threatens "the lives and livelihoods" of everybody living in the Cavan, Fermanagh and Leitrim border region.

Fr O'Reilly attacked what he described as "the false narrative" being pushed by a "small group of people in our midst" that the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings were usurpers.

READ MORE: Taoiseach says Facebook needs a 'rethink' after page compared Quinn chiefs to Shankill Butchers

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

He described them as "quality leaders who courageously took on the management of this company at a time of crisis".

"These men lost their jobs at the time of administration and only came back at the end of 2014 to manage this company in order to save jobs in our region,” he said.

"They have excelled in their endeavours and expanded the workforce to 830 staff. Our support and respect for them has been well earned, and is well deserved.”

READ MORE: Gardaí find 'significant evidence' in horse box where Quinn chief Kevin Lunney was tortured

He said that he and many like him had been "far too complacent" about the campaign of violence waged against the Quinn group directors, thinking it would peter out eventually.

Fr O'Reilly apologiseD for this to Mr Lunney, his family and Quinn management, saying "we have all been hoodwinked".

"I now believe there has been a Mafia-style group with its own ‘Godfather’ operating in our region for some time behind the scenes. They have decided to ratchet up the intimidation.

"The Rubicon has now been crossed by this most recent barbaric assault."

Incident: A garda on the road where Mr Lunney was found
Incident: A garda on the road where Mr Lunney was found

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