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Thursday 21 November 2019

Protect us or we will shut down, Quinn chief warns

BBC handout photo of Kevin Lunney, BBC Spotlight programme on BBC Newsline.BBC Spotlight/BBC/PA Wire
BBC handout photo of Kevin Lunney, BBC Spotlight programme on BBC Newsline.BBC Spotlight/BBC/PA Wire
Kevin Lunney. Picture: BBC/PA
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

The international investors backing Quinn Industrial Holdings last night issued an ultimatum to the Governments on both sides of the Border that in the event they "fail to re-establish the rule of law" in the face of the terror campaign being waged against the company they will "be forced to re-examine" their investment.

A source close to the company said: "This would mean that in the event of investor withdrawal, these companies will close permanently and never be opened again.

"These investors handle investments worth tens of billions all over the world. They will never allow a precedent to be set whereby they are seen to be vulnerable to intimidation and corporate thuggery and this could happen elsewhere.

"The harsh reality is that the jobs would be lost and the companies will just be left as holes in the ground if this terror campaign is not stopped for once and for all."

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The forced closure of the Quinn manufacturing companies - the main economic driver along the Border - would also have a knock-on effect on a further 2,500 jobs mostly in companies which do contract work for the group.

It came hours after Quinn executive Kevin Lunney recounted on television how he was slashed with a knife, doused with bleach and branded by his captors.

The Co Fermanagh businessman's abduction hit the headlines in September after he was found bleeding on a remote roadside after being dumped in Co Cavan.

Criminals targeting QIH executives are believed to have been behind the attack - and a series of harrowing threats followed. A cross-border police investigation is under way but the perpetrators remain at large.

Kevin Lunney. Picture: BBC/PA
Kevin Lunney. Picture: BBC/PA

In a statement, QIH chairman Adrian Barden said: "For over four years, QIH directors have been subjected to an horrific campaign of defamation, intimidation and assault, including the brutal abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney last month.

"The objective of this campaign is clearly to force a change to ownership and management structures and this will not succeed.

"If the authorities on both sides of the Border fail to re-establish the rule of law and protect those working in these businesses, the owners will be forced to re-examine their approach to this investment."

Meanwhile it has emerged that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris assured the QIH directors the ongoing terror campaign is a top priority when he met them at Monaghan garda station on Tuesday.

It is understood gardaí have made major progress in their investigation of the abduction and torture of Mr Lunney.

The members of the gang involved have been identified and also a number of individuals alleged to have been involved in issuing threats are also now under investigation.

Irish Independent

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