Friday 18 October 2019

Quinn executive sustained 'life changing' injuries after abduction and 'most severe and savage' attack by four masked men - PSNI

  • Top executive of Quinn Industrial Holdings hospitalised after he was abducted and assaulted
  • Lunney's car was rammed and disabled by another vehicle - PSNI
  • Four masked men forcibly removed him from car and bundled him into other vehicle
  • Sinister attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents that have plagued the business
  • Company said it fears someone will be killed if authorities do not act urgently
  • Lunney sustained 'life changing injuries'
  • Quinn family condemn attack and say they are "horrified at terrible ordeal"
Kevin Lunney sustained 'life changing' injuries after being abducted
Kevin Lunney sustained 'life changing' injuries after being abducted
Kevin Lunney
Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
A member of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM

Donal O'Donovan, Luke Byrne, Aoife Walsh and Cormac McQuinn

A top executive of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) has sustained 'life-changing' injuries in what the PSNI has described as a 'most severe and savage' attack and abduction.

Kevin Lunney was hospitalised with a broken leg and facial injuries after being abducted from his home and assaulted.

The sinister attack - which left Kevin Lunney with serious injuries - is the latest in a series of violent incidents that have plagued the business.

The company said it fears someone will be killed if authorities do not act urgently.

In a press conference this afternoon, the PSN has described how four masked man smashed the windows of Mr Lunney's car, forcibly removed him and bundled him into the back of another car.

He sustained 'severe and brutal' injuries to his legs, torso and face, police have said.

Kevin Lunney
Kevin Lunney

Mr Lunney, director and chief operating officer of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), is in hospital following his abduction and a vicious assault that occurred last evening, QIH said.

A QIH spokesperson said that Mr Lunney's and an unknown car were found ablaze in a road near his family home shortly before 7pm on Tuesday.

"Mr Lunney sustained a broken leg and range of other very severe, but non-life-threatening injuries for which he is being treated in a nearby hospital," the spokesperson said.

He was found with serious injuries at the side of the road in Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan by locals just before 9pm.

After a press conference in Enniskillen this afternoon, PSNI Superintendent Clive Beatty said Mr Lunney was arriving home when his vehicle was rammed by another vehicle and disabled.

"Mr Lunney locked himself in the vehicle but four masked men appeared, smashed the windows of Mr Lunney's vehicles, forcibly removed him from the vehicle and bundled him into the boot of a black Audi saloon and drove him away from his home," he said.

"They drove for a period of time to an unknown location whereupon he was removed from the vehicle and savagely beaten about the body.

"He sustained severe and brutal injuries to his legs, torso and face. After this savage attack he was then bundled into another vehicle and driven for another short period of time and then he was dumped on the side of the road just outside Cavan to fend for himself with his severe injuries."

A member of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney
Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM
A member of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney Picture credit: Damien Eagers / INM

The officer said a passer-by found Mr Lunney and contacted the emergency services.

CRIME Abdu (4).jpg
Temporary Superintendent Clive Beatty, who is the PSNI District Commander for Fermanagh and Omagh District Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Mr Beatty said the incident was the "most severe and savage" of the recent series of attacks on the company and its executives.

"We are at a very early stage of our investigation and we are keeping an open mind at this time but this has been an ongoing situation in that area for some time, police are well aware of the complexities and difficulties that this has had however we are using all our force and might to bring to justice those people who are committing offences in that area and against this company," he said.

The superintendent was challenged why the police had yet to make one arrest in relation to the attacks in recent years.

"There are a number of lines of enquiry still ongoing about crimes that have been committed over the last two years," said the officer.

Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney
Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM
Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

"Those are still very much live investigations and I can't discuss any further on our actions on that."

He added: "This is the most severe and savage attack that has been to date at this particular company or area and we are keeping an open mind as to who or what is behind this."

Mr Beatty said there had been an additional police presence around the company's premises over the last two days, as a board of directors conference was being held.

He said Mr Lunney had been left with "life changing" injuries.

"We have briefly spoken to Mr Lunney, he was able to tell us some information but his injuries are severe and savage," said the officer.

"Although not life threatening, they will be definitely life changing and he is assisting us with the enquiry as much as he can."

QIH Chairman Adrian Braien said that the incident was an "outrageous attack on a hard-working father of six children".

"For several hours last evening Kevin’s wife, family and very many friends were left to contemplate the worst.

"Like many of his colleagues I am frustrated and angry that more has not been done to protect Kevin, who will require some considerable time to recover from the very severe injuries sustained in this brutal attack," he said.

“We have previously warned of the inevitability of serious injury and loss of life arising from these sustained and increasingly serious criminal attacks.

"We are now calling for the police authorities north and south to act quickly and decisively to prevent an inevitable loss of life by bringing those responsible to justice.”

A statement released by the Quinn family to Independent.ie condemned the attack.

"We are absolutely horrified to hear of the terrible ordeal which Kevin Lunney has endured, and our thoughts are with Kevin and his family," it read.

"We have had no involvement in the Quinn Group for several years now and are deeply frustrated and angered that our former ownership of those businesses is being associated in any way with such abhorrent acts.

"The Quinn family has repeatedly condemned these types of attacks in the strongest possible terms and we will always do so.

"The people that are carrying out these despicable acts are not doing so for our benefit in any shape or form and we are totally against this type of activity," it added.

READ MORE: Attack on Quinn Kevin Lunney raises concerns about plans to restructure garda divisions, Oireachtas committee told

It's understood that Mr Lunney was discovered at a crossroads in the secluded rural area by a farmer in a tractor.

He was found by the local just minutes after he had been dumped out by his captors.

He could talk, but was unable to walk and the local man immediately phoned and ambulance.

One man who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the abduction in Kinawley revealed he saw the flames of the car and went to investigate.

"To be honest I was just in complete shock. At that time I didn't know if Kevin was in the car," said the local, who is a friend of the victim.

"As I got closer to the car I could feel the heat of the flames.

"I was thinking about his poor wife who would have looked out and just seen that."

He said it was still day light when the incident happened.

"I didn't see the kidnappers but I just got a glimpse of a black car when it was speeding away.

"I couldn't see the make or model or anything like that," he said.

The witness said he called the fire brigade immediately and was relieved when he discovered Mr Lunney had not been in the car.

He said he couldn't sleep last night and was too shocked to go into work today.

"I haven't had a chance to speak to Kevin. I heard he was in the hospital and he got a bad beating," he said.

"I have no idea what they wanted."

PSNI officers remained at the scene today which was cordoned off.

A large number of officers, including in forensics suits, could be seen entering and exiting the cordon, some bringing back evidence bags.

PSNI Detective Inspector Trevor Stevenson said: "We understand that the man was abducted from his home in Derrylin at around 6.40pm yesterday evening, Tuesday 17 September, and was seriously assaulted before being left at the side of the road at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan.

"He was discovered by local residents just before 9pm and was brought to hospital with serious injuries to his face and leg.

"This was a horrific attack and we are liaising with our colleagues at An Garda Síochána."

He said that they are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed a black saloon Audi being driven in the Derrylin, Fermanagh / Swanlinbar, Cavan areas to contact gardai or the PSNI on 101, quoting reference number 1748 of 17/09/19.

A garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí and the PSNI are cooperating into the investigation of an incident that occurred in Fermanagh yesterday evening, Tuesday 17th of September. A male is receiving medical treatment at a hospital in the Republic of Ireland."

Business minister Heather Humphreys said she was "horrified" to hear about the attack on Mr Lunney.

She said he is a "a decent, honourable, hardworking man, who I have known for many years."

Ms Humphreys added: "As a Director in the Quinn Group, he supports the employment of in excess of 700 people in the Ballyconnell area."

She said: "This type of intimidation is despicable and needs to be eradicated form our society.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends and I wish him a full and speedy recovery."

She also said: "I would strongly urge anyone with information to come forward to An Garda Siochana and I am assured that a full criminal investigation is underway."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith condemned the attack on Mr Lunney.

He said: “I utterly condemn the attack which saw Mr Lunney abducted and brutally assaulted as he was returning to his family home just across the border in Co. Fermanagh

“This is the latest in a series of attacks on members of Quinn Industrial Holdings and I am particularly concerned that no arrests have been made, either side of the border, to date."

Mr Smith said it's a "campaign of intimidation" and the gardaí and the PSNI must work together "to ensure it ends and those responsible are brought to justice."

He wished Mr Lunney a speedy recovery and said he is thinking of him and his family at "what must be a very frightening time."

Mr Smith added: "I reiterate again the need for these reprehensible thugs to be brought to justice and I hope they feel the full force of the law."

More to follow...

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News