Editorial: 'We owe it to Lunney to deal fully with cowardly thugs'
The full account of the ordeal endured by Kevin Lunney, so bravely recounted, is a testament to one man's dignity and another's depravity.
Society demands that there is only one winner in this, and it can not be the thugs in the balaclavas. The State can not be a bystander in the face of such atrocity and brazen subversion of the law. The perpetrators of this sustained campaign of violence and intimidation are banking on creating collective fear.
It is they who should be living anxiously and constantly looking over their shoulders.
It would be appalling if this reign of brutality targeting decent civilians going about their lives is allowed to continue.
The greatest allies those who terrorise and threaten can have are silence and indifference.
The fact that signs carrying threats were left untouched for so long is an affront to law and sent out all the wrong signals.
How much easier it is to stimulate a herd instinct of fear if you can convince people you can get away with it. For four years, the cowardly thugs behind these savage attacks have being doing exactly that.
Surely we owe it to Mr Lunney, his wife and six children to remind these thugs they have vastly overplayed their hand.
Anyone who thinks simply putting on a hood gives you licence to put families on the front line in a twisted power play needs to be vigorously disabused of the notion.
No one stands above the law.
These are small men, who think by visiting vicious and repulsive attacks on unarmed civilians they can attain great things for their own small ends.
Yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and former justice minister Michael McDowell appealed for the rule of law to assert itself in the Border region, while speaking on RTÉ.
A clear lapse in policing on both sides was highlighted. It is high time for the full armoury of the State to be deployed.
They advocated for a multi-agency approach once and for all to strip these shadowy figures of the ability to pose any further threat.
Their financial assets, and any other means they depend on, must be seized. Take away their means and you neutralise their threat.
Mr Lunney clearly believed his captors were working to a strict list of "brutally specific orders". The State must be even more specific.
No corner of this island can be regarded as "bandit country". We are not helpless and we can not be made look impotent by these criminals or their overlord who commands from the comfort of a safe distance.
Mr Lunney's brother, Tony, has said: "This needs to be resolved. This is not normal society. The only comfort will be when they are apprehended, put away."
It was important for people to see that the State is in control, he added.
On that point there should never have been any doubt.