Friday 18 October 2019

Concern in wake of Kevin Lunney kidnapping that perpetrators of intimidation and attacks are 'getting away with it, Dáil told

Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary (Niall Carson/PA)
Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary (Niall Carson/PA)
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THERE is a sense of "complacency" over intimidation and attacks on people and property related to Quinn Industrial Holdings and a concern that the perpetrators are "getting away with it", the Dáil has been told.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary made the claims as he challenged Tánaiste Simon Coveney on what the government has done to help the gardaí tackle the issue in the 48 hours since the brutal abduction and assault on businessman Kevin Lunney.

Mr Lunny (50) - a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH)  - was kidnapped near his Co Fermanagh home and was later found with serious injuries on Tuesday night in Co Cavan.

Mr Calleary said it was that kind of attack "we thought had ended on this island" and Mr Lunney (50) has suffered "life-changing injuries".

The Tanaiste Simon Coveney
The Tanaiste Simon Coveney

He said there has been a worrying pattern of attacks on people and property building over a number of years, culminating in Mr Lunney's ordeal.

Mr Calleary quoted the chairman of QIH, who said he was frustrated and angry that more had not been done to protect Mr Lunney.

The Fianna Fáil TD said there "seems to have been a complacency about pursuing those responsible for this issue".

He asked what the Government has done in the last two days to ensure extra garda resources were made available. He said there needed to be cooperation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to ensure a strong policing response that will send a "we'll take no nonsense" message.

Members of the PSNI near a lane way leading to the home of Kevin Lunney in Kilnawley, Co Fermanagh, yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers
Members of the PSNI near a lane way leading to the home of Kevin Lunney in Kilnawley, Co Fermanagh, yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers

Mr Coveney said he wanted to send his support and sympathy to Mr Lunney and his family after what he described as a "shocking incident".

He said he was a completely innocent person who was brutally pulled out of his car by masked men, beaten and left in a ditch.

Mr Coveney said the response from the PSNI and the gardaí must be "robust" and added that "it will be".

He said the attack reminded him of the kind of gangland and paramilitary-style punishment beatings of the past.

He joined the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and justice minister Charlie Flanagan in condemning the attack on Mr Lunny.

He said it was carried out by "cowards" with no regard for the rule of law on either side of the border.

Mr Coveney said the gardaí and PSNI were determined to bring the perpetrators to justice and will "relentlessly pursue" them.

He said the relationship between both police organisations was stronger than ever and Garda numbers in the border area had increased by 150 to 1,500 since 2017.

Kevin Lunney
Kevin Lunney

He noted that a new armed support unit would be based in Cavan.

Mr Calleary said that attacks have been going on for two years and that Mr Lunney previously had his nose broken while another QIH staff member had boiling water thrown over them.

He said that unless and until somebody was brought before the courts "the perception that people are getting away with it will continue".

Mr Coveney said the PSNI and the gardaí have attached the highest priority to the case. He also urged the community in the border area to help both police organisations with their investigations.

He said that some people in the area know who the perpetrators are and "they need to come forward".

He said the incidents that have occurred is not what people in the border counties want or accept and they need to work with the PSNI and Gardaí to "stamp it out".

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