Quinn chief's BMW is torched in 'terror' attack

PROBE: Arson is latest in spate of crimes since Anglo takeover of insurance empire

Ken Foy, Crime correspondent

AN arson attack on a BMW owned by the chief executive of the Quinn Group has been described as "terrorism" by the company.

The vehicle, owned by Paul O'Brien, was torched outside his home in Ratoath, Co Meath, on Monday night.

The arson, which also caused damage to his home and a neighbouring house, is just the latest of almost 25 attacks against the Quinn Group since April.

Around €500,000 of damage has been caused in the incidents, which started after Anglo Irish Bank took control of much of the business empire of former tycoon Sean Quinn.

Mr O'Brien and senior colleagues have been issued with advice about their personal safety in light of the continuing attacks.

The O'Brien family were not at home when the arsonist struck at 11pm. In a statement, the Quinn Group described it as a "terrorist attack".

"We will not be intimidated by the actions of a small group of thugs and vandals," it said.


Gardai are now probing whether the arson attack is linked to dissident Republicans or gangland criminals.

In a linked attack last month, arsonists destroyed a number of vehicles at a tarmac plant owned by the group in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

Other attacks include an incident in July in which around €300,000 of damage was caused to a cement factory in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, when a van, a lorry and other construction vehicles were vandalised.

Three electricity poles near Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, were also cut down.

Anglo seized the Quinn Group in April as it chased €5bn of family and company debts caused mainly by catastrophic share deals.

Around 800 staff work at Quinn Insurance in Blanchardstown and around 200 are based in Navan, Co Meath, with others based in Cavan, Enniskillen and Manchester.

Sean Quinn has previously called for the attacks to stop and said that those committing them are not doing so in his name.