Fifty-year-old father of six, Kevin Lunney, was kidnapped from his Fermanagh home and viciously tortured eight days ago, this is the latest of 70 intimidation events over 8 years.
There has been a call for a high-level joint police task force on both sides of the border to deal with a long campaign of intimidation against a rescue group of companies struggling to save businesses and jobs formerly controlled by Sean Quinn who was once Ireland’s wealthiest person.
The proposed task force would permit officers from the Garda Siochana and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to cross into each other’s territory in joint operations against criminals in the border area.
The stepped-up cross-border security call came from Liam McCaffrey, chief executive of Quinn Industrial Holdings once run by Sean Quinn.
McCaffrey made the plea as police on both sides of the border stepped up their hunt for a gang which abducted, brutally tortured and broke a leg in two places in their assault on another executive of the company, 50-year-old father of six Kevin Lunney.
The gang warned Kevin Lunney during the attack that he and his four fellow directors, who were named, would be murdered unless they resigned their positionshttps://t.co/fe42btnj2M pic.twitter.com/JRNs3HrY6K— Belfast Telegraph (@BelTel) September 21, 2019
He is recovering in hospital after the attack eight days ago when he was snatched in his car outside his home in Kinawley, Co. Fermanagh, and viciously tortured south of the border in a horsebox in a remote road in Co. Cavan.
The attack was the latest and worst incident in a series of 70 intimidation events over eight years, including verbal and poster threats against a number of executives, arson, and assaults.
A culture of omerta in a border area often under stress during The Troubles, allied with failure to make arrests by both the Police Service of Northern and the Gardai, led to complaints from company chiefs that investigations lasted a few days and were then forgotten.
After last week’s vicious attack stunned all Ireland, McCaffrey pleaded for joint police action “to deal with this once and for all; to find those carrying it out and to find those who are sponsoring it.”
He told the Sunday Independent, “What's happened every other occasion is we get all sorts of attention for a period of days and all of a sudden we are on our own again.
“That can’t happen this time. We’ve got to see this through whatever the resolution is. We can’t be left so naked here to try to run a company with 830 staff depending on us.”
In the Republic, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan admitted that the “culture of intimidation” in the border area, dating back to The Troubles, could hamper the investigation into the attack.
Gardai, who have traced the scene of the trailer attack and identified a suspect who bought bleach to remove forensics, now believe at least four people were directly involved in the two-hour attack, but between 12 and 20 people were involved in its planning. The gang delivered a chilling message to Lunney -- that he and the other four named directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings must resign or be shot.
Both police forces believe the gang is comprised of dissident republicans and criminals involved in cross-border smuggling and racketeering.
Sean Quinn has categorically condemned the intimidation and described the attack on Lunney as barbaric. His family is also outraged by what’s been happening and he told Northern Sound radio they fear they are wrongly taking flak from some in the community.
What is clear is somebody has taken gross exception for apparently criminal reasons to the takeover by rescue operators, aided with U.S. hedge funding, of companies lost by Quinn when his €4.7 billion empire collapsed.
Parish priest Father Gerard Alwill said at Mass on Sunday the option to hold different opinions gives nobody the right to inflict brutal onslaught on other humans and their families.
He appealed to those involved to stop the violence “before somebody gets killed.”