Northern Ireland news

Hundreds march in solidarity with Kevin Lunney

Hundreds gather at the Quinn company head quarters in Derrylin to show their support for injured company director Kevin Lunney who was abducted and tortured by a gang earlier this week. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

HUNDREDS of people have gathered in support of businessman Kevin Lunney, who was kidnapped and assaulted by a gang of masked men near the border.

The Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) chief operating officer was abducted near his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, on Tuesday.

He was taken to another location and attacked before being dumped hours later on the side of a road in Cavan with what were said to be "life-changing" injuries.

Mr Lunney yesterday underwent leg surgery.

Later hundreds of colleagues and friends held a solidarity march in Derrylin.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on management at the company.

Former billionaire Sean Quinn has repeatedly condemned the string of attacks on workers involved in his former companies, including Quinn Industrial Holdings.

Speaking at the event, DUP leader Arlene Foster condemned the attack.

"People think of the past but also have a sense of fear and foreboding when something like this happens," she said.

"I have no doubt that the guards and the PSNI will want to bring those responsible for this crime are brought to justice."

Two of Mr Lunney's family members spoke of their anguish and shock.

Sister-in-law Margaret Lunney said she was comforted by the number of people in the community who turned out in support of him.

"Words could not describe what has happened, we are all very upset. He is the kindest, nicest fella you could ever meet. He is loyal to everybody and such a gentleman," she said.

"He's head of the family and the one who brings us altogether. It has been a week from hell for the family."

Another sister-in-law, Geraldine Lunney, said: "How anyone could do something like that to someone - especially someone like Kevin. It is beyond belief. He is the kindest person you could ever meet."

Earlier, QIH Chief Executive Liam McCaffrey described the attackers as "depraved individuals".

QIH staff also issued a statement saying the attack "was not only an attack on Kevin, but on the entire staff and community."

"This attack is the latest in a campaign of intimidation against the directors and senior management of QIH. As a staff group, we utterly condemn this and all previous physical assaults, arson attacks and intimidation on members of staff. The people who are perpetrating these acts do not represent us, or our views, and we plead with them to stop this campaign with immediate effect. The staff of QIH fully support the directors and senior management of the company.

"We demand an end to this reign of terror, to all intimidation and attacks on management and their properties. We call on local politicians, the PSNI and the gardaí to allocate whatever resources are necessary to bring these perpetrators to justice and to bring an end to these brutal attacks so we can feel safe in our place of work and in our local communities."

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