Wednesday 23 October 2019

Torture gang vows to kill five Quinn bosses

  • Victim warned by kidnappers during horrific abduction
  • Company’s chief operating officer kidnapped close to his home on Tuesday evening
  • Businessman and father-of-six taken to a location where gardaí believe he was savagely tortured in a horsebox that had been prepared as a torture chamber
Police outside Kevin Lunney’s Co Fermanagh home this week. Picture by Damien Eagers
Police outside Kevin Lunney’s Co Fermanagh home this week. Picture by Damien Eagers

Paul Williams, Tom Brady and Ken Foy

The gang that abducted and tortured Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executive Kevin Lunney threatened to kill five members of the management team, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Security sources say the chilling threat was made to father-of-six Mr Lunney (50) during a terrifying two-hour ordeal.

The company’s chief operating officer was kidnapped close to his home on Tuesday evening in what gardaí and the PSNI have described as a well-planned and co-ordinated paramilitary-style attack.

It followed more than 70 recorded incidents over the past two years –including a threat in writing in May warning of “implementing a permanent solution for at least one (of the directors)”.

Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire
Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire

The Irish Independent understands that the gang warned Mr Lunney during that attack that he and his four fellow directors, who were named, would be murdered unless they resigned their positions.

Yesterday, gardaí raided the homes and property of former republican sympathisers.

Solidarity: DUP leader Arlene Foster chats with Kevin Lunney’s brother Tony at the Quinn Industrial Holdings rally in support of the injured man. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Solidarity: DUP leader Arlene Foster chats with Kevin Lunney’s brother Tony at the Quinn Industrial Holdings rally in support of the injured man. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The 50-year-old businessman was taken to a second location where gardaí believe he was savagely tortured in a horsebox that had been prepared as a torture chamber.

The gang, which gardaí and the PSNI now believe involved up to a dozen individuals with connections to dissident Republicans and other Border-based criminals, threatened Mr Lunney's brother Tony, the CEO of QIH Liam McCaffrey, the chairman John McCartin and Dara O'Reilly, the company's chief financial officer.

Sources have said that gardaí and PSNI are making good progress in identifying the gang members.

Detectives are now focusing primarily on former members of the Provisional IRA, who are still heavily involved in criminal activities in the Border region.

Officers also believe that lurking in the background are suspected members of the Continuity IRA (CIRA), which has re-emerged as a potent terrorist threat over the past few months.

One of the searches yesterday was at a house and extensive farmyard near the Cavan-Longford boundary and another at a business premises nearby.

The searches continued until late into the evening. But there were no arrests.

Gardaí have also identified close associates of a notorious smuggler and ATM thief as suspects in the horror attack.

Staff of Quinn Industrial Holdings give a show of support for Kevin Lunney and his family at the Head Office in Derrylin
Pic Steve Humphreys
Staff of Quinn Industrial Holdings give a show of support for Kevin Lunney and his family at the Head Office in Derrylin Pic Steve Humphreys

Associates of a local crime boss are linked to paramilitaries and have been involved in ATM thefts across the country.

Gardaí and friends of Mr Lunney said he was beaten "within an inch of his life" before being bundled into a van and dumped on a quiet country road at Cornafean, in Co Cavan.

The QIH executive's leg was broken in two places and a blade was used to cut some of his fingernails from his hands.

Sources have revealed that during his ordeal Mr Lunney heard one of his captors giving an instruction to "hit him again" in the leg because he hadn't heard "a bone crack".

He was also stabbed in the ear, neck, face and torso before a balaclava was placed over his head and bleach poured over his body in an effort to destroy any potential DNA evidence.

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
Search for evidence: A member of the PSNI at a laneway close to Kevin Lunney’s home. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Search for evidence: A member of the PSNI at a laneway close to Kevin Lunney’s home. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

The kidnap victim, who has been left severely traumatised, has since undergone surgery to his leg which necessitated inserting a steel plate.

Liam McCaffrey, a close friend and business partner of Mr Lunney, also said that his colleague "sounded strong in his voice" when they spoke following the attack.

Mr McCaffrey, a chief executive of Quinn Industrial Holding, described the assault and the previous attacks on the business as an "orchestrated terror campaign".

The kidnapping was deliberately planned to coincide with a major board meeting that was due to take place on Wednesday morning.

This was by far the most serious incident in a five-year campaign of intimidation, threats, assaults, arson attacks directed at the five senior QIH executives. Sources at the company have revealed that members of the management team met with senior PSNI and Garda officers where they expressed their 'intense anger and frustration at the poor response' they have received from the police over the past five years.

The Irish Independent has learned that one of the directors was "rebuffed and effectively scolded" on the phone by a garda when he tried to report what he understood to be a death threat.

Sources said that Justice Minister Charlie Flanaghan had spoken directly with the executives and assured them that no resources would be spared in the investigation.

Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey, who is in charge of operations, visited Cavan yesterday and pledged the full support of the Garda organisation. Both gardaí and the PSNI have appealed for anyone with information to come forward. A source has said that there was 'a level of fear' among Garda officers that they would also be targeted by the same thugs responsible for the horrific attack on Mr Lunney.

"The Border region, despite all the hype, is seriously under-staffed and that means the few that are there are open to intimidation and threats with little or no back-up," the source said.

Yesterday, staff at QIH held a protest in solidarity with Mr Lunney. Fr Gerry Comisky, who has known Mr Lunney for 25 years, attended the march and told how he visited him in hospital.

Irish Independent

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