Threats made to QIH directors were made face to face and reported to police
Many of the death threats made to the QIH directors were made face-to-face, one of the directors has said.
Indeed some of these in-person threats were made by local people whom the QIH directors know.
Many of them were issued to John McCartin, a QIH director and a former Leitrim Fine Gael councillor who lives in Newtown Gore, via three men known to him.
While welcoming the recent searches and arrests, Mr McCartin said he feared that the lack of police action meant the trail had gone cold on a lot of the information he provided.
“No police force can defend the fact that years ago they were informed directly about personal death threats,” he told the Irish News yesterday.
“That attack would not have happened to Kevin in the way it happened had there been a pair of eyes on him. If somebody had been keeping an eye on his house. It was far too easy for them. There was a credible threat.
“I think the police have really gone for it now. But you know the trail is cold on a lot of this stuff. It's very old. It's been going on for years. We've been banging our heads off walls looking for meetings with senior police management and really haven't been taken seriously until now.”
Mr McCartin and a team of Irish businessmen, including Kevin Lunney, who was in September abducted and tortured, led a successful bid to restore the Seán Quinn business empire to local control in 2016.
Mr McCartin sits on the QIH board.
One of the first threats that Mr McCartin, a father of five, can recall was made during a meeting he had been asked to attend in the Slieve Russell hotel in Co Cavan. Two men he knew had asked to meet him.
They would refer to a person who was upset with Mr McCartin and the other QIH directors. The threats began in late 2016.
"They said I should resign as it was going to get very nasty. That everybody needs to get out for their safety. You are in danger, he could do anything. He is likely to do anything. He is irrational. It was irresponsible to expose my children to such dangers. One of them said he hated to see children getting dragged into it."
Just weeks after this threat, Mr McCartin would be called back to the same hotel by one of the men and threatened again.
"He said I was in trouble. That I didn't seem to appreciate the dangers."
After both meetings Mr McCartin said he called the Gardai.
- Roots to fallout which saw Sean Quinn leave role at Quinn Industrial Holdings
- Detectives had 'no prior intelligence' of attack on Kevin Lunney
- John Bosco O'Hagan - Why am I speaking now? I feel terrible it has got to this point
It would be the beginning of a number of threatening encounters that Mr McCartin would inform the Gardai about.
One would be a death threat issued to Liam McCaffrey, the QIH chief executive.
"I remember specifically being asked to meet two fellows I knew in a Leitrim hotel.
"They said Liam McCaffrey is leaving before Christmas.
"I told them that couldn't be true as I was on the board and he would have to hand a resignation letter to the board."
"But he said 'I'm telling you he is. Feet first or head first.'
"I said you're giving me a threat. I won't be delivering a threat. I rang the Gardaí."
During another meeting in the same hotel, again with two men Mr McCartin knew, he was told it had gotten 'extremely dangerous.'
"My life was at risk, they said and it was unfair to my children. Things would be said about me and my father and my uncle that would destroy us. These things would not have to be true."
After each meeting Mr McCartin would call the Gardaí.
Not all threats were issued during prearranged meetings and were by men other than the three men in the meetings detailed. Mr McCartin was visiting New York while he was serving Leitrim mayor. An Irishman living in America would approach him and said he had been talking to a friend at home and that Mr McCartin needed to watch himself.
In July last year, Mr McCartin, a musician, was playing in a Connaught Fleadh in Ballinamore.
"I was playing music at the end. The street was packed. I was packing up, my wife and children had arrived. I was aware that somebody was roaring. I turned around and there was this fella roaring and shouting at me. I turned around and said who are you?
"He said to me you’re a tramp and a grabber and a cheat. You stole Sean Quinn's companies. Give him back his companies. I was embarrassed so I went to move closer to him so he could speak to me rather than be shouting at me. He took position fists up as though he was going for me. My wife took him by the collar and said who are you and then he ran off. "
Mr McCartin was never threatened by Cyril McGuinness, otherwise known as Dublin Jimmy, the criminal who died suddenly when police raided his house and who is believed to be the "boss" rung by Kevin Lunney's abductors during his abduction.
The Irish News understands that none of the other local men involved in the 2016 takeover of former Quinn Group companies were ever threatened directly by Mr McGuinness.
Sean Quinn has repeatedly denied any involvement in the threats and repeatedly condemned the ongoing intimidation and act of violence against Kevin Lunney.