Northern Ireland news

New threat against QIH directors by gang behind torture of Kevin Lunney

A masked man was photographed with a statement threatening directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH)

A new threat has been issued against five directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH).

The statement received by The Irish News calls on the men to resign and warns of a "permanent solution" if they do not act on "your last warning".

The gang behind the threat - based mainly in Co Cavan - is believed to have been responsible for the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney last month.

A masked man was photographed holding the statement, which also threatens anyone removing signs that have appeared in the Cavan/Fermanagh border area.

Mr Lunney (50) was abducted near his Co Fermanagh home on September 17 and badly beaten before being dumped across the border in Co Cavan.

Read More: Roots to fallout which saw Sean Quinn leave role at Quinn Industrial Holdings

During the shocking attack he had his leg broken in two places, his fingernails sliced down to the quick and the letters QIH carved on his chest.

The father-of-six, a director of the company, was also doused in bleach and told that if he and four of his colleagues did not resign they would be shot.

He is currently recovering at home from his ordeal.

The attack represented a dramatic escalation of a campaign of intimidation directed at QIH, its management and employees.

Kevin Lunney is recovering at home after being abducted and tortured last month

Around 70 incidents have been recorded over the last four years, ranging from threatening graffiti and signs to attacks on cars and company equipment.

The latest threat names Mr Lunney, his brother Tony, QIH chief executive Liam McCaffrey, chief finance officer Dara O'Reilly and former Fine Gael councillor John McCartin.

It states: "This is your last warning to resign your positions in QIH. Obviously yous (sic) have not learned the lesson after what happened to Kevin, if we had of wanted we could have killed him very easily."

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It adds: "We want to put on record anybody who removes signs, whether that be council employees or outside contractors, will be targeted.

"All of this will be brought to a conclusion very shortly."

While the attack on Mr Lunney was not sanctioned by any paramilitary group, those responsible are understood to have previous links to organised, cross-border criminality and include former members of paramilitary organisations with access to weapons.

The campaign of violence has been repeatedly condemned by local politicians as well as Sean Quinn, former owner of the QIH businesses and at one time a senior adviser to the company.

Mr Quinn lost control of his Quinn Group empire after a disastrous investment in Anglo Irish bank shares before the 2008 financial crash.

When some of the businesses were brought back under local management in 2014, Ireland's one-time richest man also returned as a consultant but later left after a breakdown in relationships.

He has insisted the attacks are not being carried out in his name and he is no longer interested in seeking ownership of his former businesses.

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"I don’t want to be seen as being the beneficiary of abuse or criminal activity," he said.

However, a sinister element in the community in the Fermanagh/Cavan border area has continued to vent anger at the demise of Mr Quinn’s empire.

The chilling communication states: "We have learned that there was repeated attempts made by Sean Quinn to talk to senior directors to bring a solution and conclusion but the directors refuse to reply.

"The same directors were given a mandate to hold the company in safe hands for the Quinn family until a position was in place to buy it back.

"The local community won’t stand by any longer and see it continue its current trajectory.

"The Quinn family that have employed hundreds of people in work were stabbed in the back.

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"We have the capabilities and man power to see this through until the end, a ‘permanent solution’ it will be."

QIH directors have denied there was an agreement to transfer shares to the Quinn family and spoke in detail about the management buy-out and subsequent events in a series of interviews published by The Irish News this week.

The latest threat is not understood to relate to those interviews, with the wording similar to a letter received by the QIH directors in May of this year, which also threatened a "permanent solution" if they did not resign from the company.

A spokesperson for the directors, who have been made aware of the threat, said they "keep our security constantly under review" and continue to rely on authorities to assess the risk to their lives.

PSNI District Commander Superintendent Clive Beatty said: "Whilst we do not comment on the security of individuals, where we receive information that a person's life may be at risk, we take all appropriate steps to advise them of that threat.

"We have been in discussions with a number of individuals during the course of the investigation and advised them about the steps that we are taking in relation to incidents in the area, for example, uplifting our policing patrols in the area.

"We have offered crime prevention and security advice as well as highlighting the steps that they can take themselves to improve their own personal security.

"We never ignore anything that will put a person’s life at risk and we are using all our efforts and working closely with our colleagues in An Garda Síochána to bring those responsible for committing offences in this area and against this company to justice."

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::::::::::::::::::::

STATEMENT RECEIVED BY IRISH NEWS

This is your last warning to resign your positions in QIH.

Obviously yous have not learned the lesson after what happened to Kevin, if we had of wanted we could have killed him very easily.

We want to put on record anybody who removes signs, whether that be council employees or outside contractors, will be targeted. All of this will be brought to a conclusion very shortly.

We have learned that there was repeated attempts made by Sean Quinn to talk to senior directors to bring a solution and conclusion but the directors refuse to reply.

The same directors were given a mandate to hold the company in safe hands for the Quinn family until a position was in place to buy it back.

The local community won’t stand by any longer and see it continue its current trajectory. The Quinn family that have employed hundreds of people in work were stabbed in the back.

We have the capabilities and man power to see this through until the end, a ‘permanent solution’ it will be.

Tony Lunney recalls the night his brother Kevin was abducted

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