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Sean Quinn says abduction of Kevin Lunney was ‘barbaric’ but directors of his old business have done ‘harm’ to him


Businessman Sean Quinn

Businessman Sean Quinn

Businessman Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn, the former owner and founder of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) - now known as Mannok - has condemned the violence against one of his successors in the business Kevin Lunney.

However, the former billionaire expressed his anger towards the directors of his old business for the “harm” he has suffered.

The directors of Mannok have rejected his suggestion.

“The abduction of Kevin was a barbaric act,” the 75-year-old Quinn told the Irish News.

“I feel I have kept quiet for far too long…and I haven’t let it be known the harm they have done to me and the community and the destruction they have caused by giving the companies to foreign companies. All the tax and profits leaving the country.”

Three men were found guilty on Monday of the abduction and torture of Mr Lunney - Alan O’Brien (40), Darren Redmond (27) and another 40-year-old man who cannot be named, known as YZ.

The father-of-six was abducted by a masked gang from outside his Co Fermanagh home on September 17, 2019, and tortured by his captors, who broke his leg with a wooden post, slashed him with stanley knife and doused his wounds in bleach.

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They repeatedly told him “you are going to resign” from QIH. Those initials were carved into his chest with the knife “so you remember why you are here”.

After the men’s convictions on Monday, Mr Lunney’s co-director John McCartin said: “The one question that remains to be answered is the identity of the person who paid them to abduct and torture Kevin.

“The threats and intimidation will not stop until the paymaster is unmasked and brought before the courts because he has not gone away.”

Mr Quinn has repeatedly stated he had nothing to do with Mr Lunney’s attacks or the ongoing acts of sabotage against his former business over the years.

He told the Irish News that for a long time he harboured ambitions to oust the new management and win his company back, but is now “slowing up”.

“The kids want to get on with their lives. When we got into trouble 12 years ago we’d no grandkids. Now we’ve 13. They [my kids] say, ‘do you want to continue arguing for the next 10 years on ABDC?’ I said ‘no, I will take this on. I’ll do the talking’.”

From opening a quarry in 1973 with £100, in just over three decades Forbes said that Mr Quinn was worth $4.5bn.

But then came the global economic crash of 2008 and Mr Quinn went from being Ireland’s richest man to bankrupt three years later.

The acts of sabotage began when liquidators moved in and changed the locks of Quinn Group in 2011.

In 2014, the business was acquired from an insolvency process by American private equity funds and local managers, including Mr Lunney, who had worked closely with Mr Quinn before the business went into liquidation.

There were no major incidents around the time of that deal, but there have been more than 70 acts of violence against the company since.

Mr Quinn suggested anyone in the area could have carried out the attacks, claiming that a vast amount of people were discontented with the Mannok directors.

“Look, look if there is 1,000 people angry, it only takes one or two of them,” he said.

“All of the farmers wouldn’t p**s on these boys if they were on fire. Not a farmer in the area or member of CFL [Cavan, Fermanagh and Leitrim Community Group established to support Sean Quinn] if they meet on the street would speak to these guys.”

Mr Quinn said he took issue with parts of the business being sold off to foreign organisations.

He had taken on a role as an paid advisor on a salary of round £420,000, however, relations soon broke down and Mr Quinn resigned.

On Monday, the non-jury Special Criminal Court also found that Cyril McGuinness, known as Dublin Jimmy, who died during the investigation, was the organiser of the abduction.

However, Mr Quinn doesn’t believe the ex-IRA gangster was the puppeteer behind all of the previous attacks on the business in 2011 and 2015, and made unsubstantiated claims about who may be behind the acts.

“When they [the liquidators] came in in April 2011 taking over Quinn group he [Dublin Jimmy] was in a Belgian prison so who organised the sabotage then? It couldn’t have been Dublin Jimmy. So who organised it?”

Mr Quinn added: “I have spoken very little over the past five to six years.

“They [The Mannok directors] have done all of the talking – 97 to 98pc of it. Sean Quinn has done 2 or 3pc.

“Now if Sean Quinn agreed with all [they said], and said alright, they have plenty of raw material, they are decent men. Then there would have been no sabotage….I said that was a pile of bull and then started to distribute the information a little bit better.”

Mr McCartin, a non-executive director in Mannok commented: “We are not engaged in any feud. There is a criminal campaign being waged against us and until the identity of the person who procured and resourced the campaign against us is caught, this won’t end.

"Talk of community anger is, in my opinion, a smokescreen to distract from the question of who procured and resourced these attacks and is likely to do so again against us in the future.”

Mr Quinn has also claimed he has filmed hours of interviews for an RTÉ documentary which will air next year and which he believes will persuade people that he is the one who has been wronged.

“My reputation is more important than money,” he continued. “Money was never important. Success was important to me.

“If you have no ambitions in life you are better dead. No point in living. Everyone has ambition, whether it is a woman getting a new dress or whatever. It was never money for me. I enjoyed building factories 37 years ago and employing people.”