Northern Ireland news

Hope that crime boss death will encourage Lunney witnesses

Cyril McGuinness aka 'Dublin Jimmy' who died during a raid on his house in Derbyshire last week. Picture courtesy of Sunday World.

A specialist cross border policing operation - set up to track down the gang responsible for the kidnap of Kevin Lunney - is hopeful that the sudden death of crime boss Cyril McGuinness will encourage witnesses, previously living in fear, to come forward.

McGuinness, known as 'Dublin Jimmy' - was thought to be the fixer, referred to as "boss" in a phone call made during the abduction and torture of the Quinn Industrial Holding (QIH) director in September.

He was said to have been employed by a 'paymaster' who hired him and his gang to carry out a campaign of violence, criminal damage and intimidation against the management and property of QIH.

The gangster, who died suddenly when police raided his house in Derbyshire last Friday, is also thought to have threatened the 'paymaster' after a delay in payment for the 'services' of his criminal gang.

It has been reported that McGuinness, who had been receiving regular payments for the attacks, flew into a rage when the agreed fee hadn't been delivered by an intermediary.

Armed gardai were sent to protect the alleged secret financier after receiving a tip-off believed to have come from a PSNI informant.

When informed his life may be in danger, it is claimed the man made a phone call and later told gardai the threat did not exist and the security operation was stood down.

Garda intelligence sources are reported as having said McGuinness withdrew the threat when the money was paid.

McGuinness continued waging the campaign of intimidation against the company directors which escalated into the horrific attack on Mr Lunney.

The 50-year-old businessman was abducted, driven across the border to Cavan and tortured, his fingernails were pulled out, the letters QIH carved into his chest and his leg broke in two places.

Along with four other QIH directors he remains under threat, all been provided with extra security to protect them from the cross border gang made up of people who are well known to authorities.

Last month a statement received by the Irish News once again threatened the directors with a 'permanent solution' if they did not stand down from their positions in QIH.

Evidence seized in the form of documents and electronic devices from McGuinness's house in Buxton in Derbyshire are currently being examined to see if it points to any of the other gang members or the financier behind the two year campaign of violence.

Members of the gang in recent weeks have been keeping a low profile as pressure mounts on Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and PSNI Chief Constable to tackle ongoing border criminality and bring those responsible to justice.

Gardai say that since the attack in September they have been receiving co-operation from the public but expect that to increase now that the fear of reprisals from McGuinness has gone from the border region.

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