Northern Ireland news

Dissident republicans carried out brutal abduction of Quinn Industrial Holdings executive

Police were yesterday investigating the attack on Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney 

DISSIDENT republicans involved in a recent border bombing were responsible for the violent kidnapping of a prominent businessman in Co Fermanagh.

Kevin Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings, was abducted close to his home in Kinawley on Tuesday.

He locked himself in his car after it was rammed by four masked men who smashed the windows, dragged him out and bundled him into the boot of a black Audi saloon.

PSNI Superintendent Clive Beatty said he had been driving home from his Derrylin office at 6.40pm when he was targeted.

"They drove for a period of time to an unknown location whereupon he was removed from the vehicle and savagely beaten about the body," he said.

Mr Lunney was found by a passer-by 22 miles away at a roadside in Co Cavan following a two-and-a-half hour ordeal and was rushed to hospital.

Superintendent Clive Beatty. Picture by Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press

Mr Beatty said: "He sustained severe and brutal injuries to his legs, torso and face. After this savage attack he was then bundled into another vehicle and driven for another short period of time and then he was dumped on the side of the road just outside Cavan to fend for himself with his severe injuries."

The executive was aware he was under threat and the PSNI confirmed yesterday there had been a police presence around the company's premises over the last two days as a board of directors conference was being held.

Police on both sides of the border are investigating the kidnapping, the latest in a long line of attacks and intimidation against management of QIH.

Sources have told The Irish News that men connected to the Continuity IRA in Fermanagh, who have linked up with former senior Real IRA members from Co Cavan, were involved in the abduction which they say was carried out with "military precision".

The same group were responsible for a bomb that exploded close to Wattlebridge in Co Fermanagh last month which was claimed by the CIRA.

Mr Lunney worked with Fermanagh businessman Sean Quinn for many years and remained loyal to him during attempts to regain control of his business empire that collapsed in 2012 after a failed investment in Anglo Irish Bank.

Read More: Sales and profits soar at firm of fallen tycoon Sean Quinn

After a buy-out by six local businessmen in 2014, Mr Lunney was reinstated by the manufacturing business as a director with Mr Quinn employed as a consultant.

Sean Quinn and his wife Patricia at a rally in support of the Quinn family in Ballyconnell Co Cavan last August. picture Mark Marlow.

Mr Quinn left the role in 2016.

In a statement yesterday, the Quinn family said: "We are absolutely horrified to hear of the terrible ordeal which Kevin Lunney has endured, and our thoughts are with Kevin and his family.

"We have had no involvement in the Quinn Group for several years now and are deeply frustrated and angered that our former ownership of those businesses is being associated in any way to such abhorrent acts.

"The Quinn family has repeatedly condemned these types of attacks in the strongest possible terms and we will always do so.

"The people that are carrying out these despicable acts are not doing so for our benefit in any shape or form and we are totally against this type of activity."

Read More: Sean Quinn family settles legal battle with the former Anglo Irish Bank

Over the last 12 months there has been a wave of attacks and intimidation, some of which was not made public but had caused management to up their security considerably.

Adrian Barden, chairman of the group, said the kidnapping was "an outrageous attack on a hard-working father of six children but also on his 830 colleagues at QIH and the wider community in the Cavan-Fermanagh region".

"For several hours last evening Kevin's wife, family and very many friends were left to contemplate the worst.

"Like many of his colleagues I am frustrated and angry that more has not been done to protect Kevin who will require some considerable time to recover from the very severe injuries sustained in this brutal attack

"We have previously warned of the inevitability of serious injury and loss of life arising from these sustained and increasingly serious criminal attacks.

"We find it inexplicable that not a single arrest has been made north or south despite dozens of incidents."

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew said: "This is not just a horrific assault on Kevin and his family, but on jobs and stability in Fermanagh. It has caused widespread disgust within the wider community".

DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "Nobody should have to live in fear of attack or indeed abduction as a result of their job. I hope those responsible face the courts as a result of their actions."

SDLP councillor Adam Gannon said those involved "are absolutely depraved and need to be brought to justice", while it was also strongly condemned by Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson and UUP MLA Rosemary Barton.

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