Northern Ireland news

Continuity IRA attackers under orders 'not to kill' tortured Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney

Kevin Lunney was abducted close to his Co Fermanagh home before being tortured and left at the side of a road in Co Cavan.

MEMBERS of the Continuity IRA who abducted and tortured a Co Fermanagh company director were under orders not to kill him.

Kevin Lunney suffered horrific life altering injuries when he was kidnapped by a four man masked gang who rammed his car and dragged him from the vehicle, taking him 22 miles across the border in the boot of a car to Co Cavan.

Mr Lunney had his leg broken in two places and several of his fingernails torn out. He was beaten around the head and torso and suffered knife wounds to his face and chest as his clothes were cut from his body with a large hunting knife.

He had a hood placed over his head and was dumped at the side of a road before gallons of bleach were thrown over him in an effort to wash evidence and DNA from his battered body.

He was found by a passer-by, who stayed with the 50-year-old father of six, while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

Those close to Mr Lunney said while he is receiving excellent medical care for his extensive physical injuries "his mental wounds may never heal".

He has undergone surgery on his leg, according to Chief executive of Quinn Industrial Holdings Liam McCaffrey

Mr McCaffrey said Mr Lunney was moved from Cavan General Hospital to Drogheda General Hospital on Wednesday night for the operation.

He added: "He underwent a procedure to reset his leg. He had a steel pin in because it was broken in two places. He was happy to get that out of the way because it lessened his pain."

Mr McCaffrey this morning described Kevin Lunney's attackers as "depraved individuals".

Asked by radio station Northern Sound if he had a message for those who carried out the attack on Mr Lunney, he said: "Anything I say is not going to have an impact on the type of depraved individuals involved here.

"My message is clear to any decent human being listening on the radio today. If you have any inkling about who has carried this out, you need to get the information to the authorities," he said.

Once the richest man in Ireland and the former owner of the company, Sean Quinn, yesterday condemned the attack.

Kevin Lunney was abducted and tortured by a masked gang.

Mr Quinn lost financial control of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) in 2012 after the crash of the Anglo Irish Bank, although he was hired by the new management team in 2014 as a consultant but left in acrimonious circumstances in 2016.

Speaking to Shannonside Radio yesterday he said he has had no dealings with the company directors since then.

"As far as I am concerned, I have moved on and am involved in other things. We don't want to be labelled with this. This is the last thing we want", he said.

"The people doing this are not doing this for the Quinns because they should know this is going to damage the Quinns.

"These guys pushed me out. They sacked me three-and-a-half years ago. I have had no correspondence or no dealings, no arguments, no fights with them since.

"So I don’t know. It is a pity people are coming back to me all the time and asking me to condemn it. Sure of course they know I have condemned it dozens of times.

"My view is that you wouldn't do that to a dog. That is not natural and it doesn't make any sense to me," he added.

The attack which was carried out with 'military precision' was well planned and resourced. Those responsible have been linked to an increase in CIRA activity around the border in recent months and also had assistance of former Real IRA members from Co Cavan.

Sources say they were ordered to torture but not kill Mr Lunney.

While previous attacks on the staff of QIH have been opportunistic in nature, this was on a different scale and both the PSNI and Gardaí are looking at all aspects, including whether the gang were "procured" to carry out the attack which was intended as a warning to the current management team.

It is not the first time Mr Lunney has been targeted. In February he suffered a broken nose when he was assaulted on a street in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

A pigs head was also left at the door of his family home.

Boiling water was thrown over Dara O'Reilly, QIH chief financial officer, at a filling station. In a separate incident, Mr O'Reilly's car was set alight outside his family home.

Numerous threatening letters have been sent to the management including one threatening to implement "a permanent solution" against at least one director.

It was reported yesterday that American financiers, who had flown in to Ireland for a QIH directors meeting, were told of the abduction when they landed and boarded the next flight back to New York without even leaving the airport.

It is understood a member of the Quinn family contacted the Lunney family directly yesterday to offer sympathy, the first contact between the two - who were at one time close friends - since 2016.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was "horrified" by the incident and that he had spoken to the DUP leader Arlene Foster about the attack. 

"She's really concerned about it too, given that’s her constituency," Mr Varadkar said.

"We’re going to make sure that garda resources are put behind this, that there’s co-operation between the gardaí and the PSNI. What we really need here are arrests and convictions", he added.

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