Leading article

Police must bring Kevin Lunney attackers to justice

The abduction and torture of Co Fermanagh businessman Kevin Lunney in September marked a sinister and terrifying escalation in a campaign of intimidation aimed at the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH).

Mr Lunney has set out in graphic and horrifying terms the appalling ordeal he endured at the hands of masked thugs who seized him near his home and forced him into a car boot at knifepoint.

Speaking on BBC Spotlight on Tuesday, Mr Lunney described the horrifying injuries inflicted by the gang, who were unmoved by his suffering and seemed determined to cause him as much pain as possible.

They cut off his fingernails, slashed him with a Stanley knife, rubbed bleach into his wounds then proceeded to break his leg with a bat or fence post.

They then used the knife to cut his face before carving the letters 'QIH' into his chest. One assailant said: ''Just so that you remember why you're here.''

Afterwards, the gang dumped their victim on the side of a road in Cavan, where he was eventually found although while lying there Mr Lunney, a father of six, said he believed he was going to die.

It is a truly horrific account of a harrowing and traumatic experience.

This shocking attack has inevitably focused attention on the situation at QIH and the targeting of directors, who have criticised the policing response to what has been taking place over recent years.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin claimed earlier this week that 'the rule of law has gone' on both sides of the border.

However, PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne rejected suggestions that there were policing 'no-go' areas where criminals were operating with impunity and said patrols had been stepped up.

He acknowledged that people will ultimately judge the police response to the attack on Mr Lunney on whether arrests are made.

There is undoubtedly pressure on both the PSNI and An Garda Síochána to make significant progress on bringing to justice those responsible for the violence and intimidation against QIH executives.

Last week, a masked man issued a renewed threat to QIH directors telling them to resign. The statement received by the Irish News also warned of a 'permanent solution.'

Those under threat must be given every protection but these despicable attacks must end.

The best way for the police to combat perceptions of lawlessness is to ensure the rule of law is observed.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Leading article