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Leading article: Disgraceful threat to priest who condemned Kevin Lunney attack

Kevin Lunney, chief operating officer of the Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), was abducted from his Derrylin home, and beaten by a masked gang near the border 

Almost two weeks on from the brutal abduction and torture of businessman Kevin Lunney and the reverberations of this shocking attack continue to be felt in the border region of Fermanagh and Cavan.

Mr Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), was kidnapped on September 17 near his home at Derrylin, County Fermanagh and was found later in County Cavan, where he had been dumped at the side of a road.

It later emerged that the father of six had suffered a horrific ordeal, beaten and stabbed, his leg broken and his fingernails ripped out. It was reported that the letters QIH were carved into his chest with a knife.

By any standards this was a barbaric attack, the savagery involved beyond the comprehension of most people.

Given the information now in the public domain, it seems clear this vicious crime is linked to Mr Lunney's employment at Quinn Industrial Holdings, which is profoundly disturbing.

Equally alarming is the suggestion that dissident republicans are implicated in this wicked attack.

However, this was not a one-off incident but the latest and most serious in a lengthy campaign aimed at senior figures at QIH, where 800 people are employed.

Against this backdrop of abuse, intimidation and violence, it is little wonder that few are prepared to speak out publicly to condemn what is happening.

One who has bravely decided to take a stand is Fr Oliver O'Reilly, who told mass-goers in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan at the weekend there was a 'mafia-style group with its own godfather', financed by people 'so consumed with hatred they have lost their moral compass.'

In a forthright denunciation of the attack, Fr O'Reilly said there was a 'false narrative' being pushed by a small number of people about the directors of QIH and warned that the 'long reign of terror' threatened the lives and livelihoods.

The priest was applauded for his strong words but was subsequently warned to 'watch yourself', which is absolutely disgraceful and demonstrates the mindset that he was directly challenging.

Of course, Fr O'Reilly is correct in his condemnation of what happened and his assertion that no one is above the law.

There can be no possible justification for the attack on Kevin Lunney or the targeting of QIH executives.

We must hope that the police make swift progress in apprehending those behind this despicable campaign.





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