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Monday 14 October 2019

'Shocked' locals and Quinn staff planning protest against violence

Investigation: Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney, in Co Fermanagh. Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Investigation: Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney, in Co Fermanagh. Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Injured: Kevin Lunney was abducted from his home and assaulted, before being dumped at the side of the road in Co Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Robin Schiller and Mark McConville

Staff at Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) and locals are organising a march to protest at the ongoing violence and demonstrate their revulsion at the latest most serious incident so far.

The event, which will take place at 3pm today across the road from the company headquarters in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, is in response to the horrific abduction and torture of the QIH chief operating officer Kevin Lunney.

Business groups across Ireland have condemned the "vicious" attack on the businessman.

Mr Lunney (50) was abducted from his home in Co Fermanagh and seriously assaulted before being dumped at the side of the road in Co Cavan.

Gordon Best, regional director of the Mineral Products Association NI, said the attack had come as a "real shock to us all".

"Kevin is held in high regard right across the construction materials and manufacturing industry in Ireland and further afield," he added.

"In fact, I met with Kevin just two weeks ago when Quinn Building Products hosted our Health and Safety Committee in Derrylin.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin and his family at this difficult time and we wish him a speedy recovery."

Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI, said: "The unwarranted assault on Kevin is also an attack on the 830 employees at Quinn's, the whole community in and around Derrylin where the company provide so many jobs and support the local economy, and the entire manufacturing industry across Ireland.

"Kevin and his family are very much in our thoughts at this time, and I want to assure him of our best wishes."

Mr Best and Mr Kelly also said that they would be seeking a meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne to discuss the "vile" attack on one of their members' directors and to examine in what way their associations can assist the police on both sides of the Border to stop the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The area where Mr Lunney was dumped from a vehicle on Tuesday night, a crossroads near Cornafean, remained quiet yesterday, with very little traffic passing through.

Between the isolated rural area and the northern Cavan area where the Quinn businesses are located, some were reluctant to talk about the incident.

The distance between Mr Lunney's home in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, from where he was abducted, and Cornafean is more than 40km.

Located 12km west of Cavan Town, remote country roads are needed to access the area where he was discovered injured.

Locals yesterday expressed their shock at the horrific abduction and assault, which left Mr Lunney with "life- changing" injuries.

One man, aware of the background to the incident, said: "It's desperate, it has been going on for years now.

"You don't hear about a lot of things, but you'll hear all about it now after this."

Others said that the area has been quiet since the abduction with little activity in the area.

"It's not being talked about, it's obviously awful, but there hasn't been anything happening since," a local woman said.

There was no answer when the Irish Independent attempted to contact Seán Quinn at his home yesterday afternoon.

But he later spoke on local radio to express his "outrage" at the attack.

Irish Independent

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