Two arrested men suspected of being key members of the Lunney torture gang
Two Dublin men arrested yesterday morning by gardaí investigating the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney are suspected of being key members of the gang which carried out the attack.
The Irish Independent can reveal the suspects, both aged 38, were allegedly recruited by now deceased gang boss Cyril 'Dublin Jimmy' McGuinness to conduct a surveillance operation on Mr Lunney and his fellow QIH directors as the gang boss mulled over which of them was to be singled out for attack.
It is understood the investigation team has obtained crucial forensic and electronic evidence from a small van which is believed to have been acquired for the operation.
Gardaí located and seized the vehicle last month after McGuinness's associates failed to carry out his orders to have it destroyed.
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The homes of the two men from Dublin's inner-city, both of whom are well known to officers, were among a total of 18 properties searched in Cavan, Longford, Dublin, Fermanagh and Derby in England on November 8.
McGuinness, who had orchestrated an eight-year campaign of violence and intimidation against the companies once owned by Seán Quinn, died from heart failure after police raided his safe house in Derby.
There were yesterday a total of four arrests connected with the abduction.
Gardaí announced last night they had also picked up a 25-year-old man in the Dublin region and a 66-year-old man in Co Cavan.
All of the suspects were being held in separate Garda stations, including Ballymun, Irishtown, Monaghan and Finglas.
One of the 38-year-old men is an associate of the Hutch gang. He was arrested at a property in the East Wall area of the north inner city.
The other 38-year-old is on bail on a murder charge.
The Irish Independent understands the 66-year-old arrested man is a very close associate of the 'pay master' who is believed to have bankrolled the attack on Mr Lunney, and is linked to a man and woman arrested last week before they were released without charge.
The 25-year-old is a suspected armed robber also from inner-city Dublin.
The criminal is closely linked to one of the other suspects and also suspected of involvement in an armed raid in Northern Ireland recently.
However, he was not on the Garda radar prior to that incident and may have been used in the Lunney attack because of this.
Last week the wife and son of one of the prime suspects believed to have been involved in the actual kidnapping and torture of Mr Lunney were also questioned by detectives.
The son is also suspected of taking part in the horrific attack and is believed to have been sent by the gang to buy bleach which was then used to douse the badly injured QIH director in a bid to destroy forensic evidence.
However, local sources reveal that the son has been extremely distressed since the attack and is seen by the gang as the "weak link".
In September, Mr Lunney was abducted outside his home near Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, and taken to a horsebox across the Border, where he was savagely beaten.
His attackers broke his leg, sliced his fingernails and face with a Stanley knife, carved QIH on his chest, and doused the father of six in bleach.
Mr Lunney spoke publicly about his ordeal for the first time earlier this month in a powerful TV interview.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne have all met Mr Lunney and his fellow directors in the period since.