Northern Ireland news

‘We just try to get on with life' – Mannok directors speak of living with the threat of violence since the Kevin Lunney kidnapping

Chief Executive of Mannok Holdings Liam McCaffrey Picture Mal McCann

FOLLOWING dozens of incidents of violence and intimidation and the kidnapping and torture of Kevin Lunney in September 2019 police announced an unprecedented cross-border operation to hunt for the perpetrators.

Two years on and the Mannok directors are still living with police protection, security cameras and panic buttons but maintain they won’t be driven out.

Liam McCaffrey, chief executive of Mannok, said he believes the Lunney attack was carried out by paid criminals.

“We very much welcome the commitment and efforts of the PSNI and Gardaí, nonetheless it remains the case that somebody paid for the kidnapping of Kevin to happen and that person has not been brought to justice.

"Therefore, there remains a threat of that happening again.”

The letters QIH were carved into Mr Lunney's chest by an assailant armed with a Stanley knife while death threats were issued against him and four fellow executives.

The following month a new threat was issued against five directors.

Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

In a statement received by The Irish News the men were urged to resign and warned of a "permanent solution" if they did not act on the "last warning".

More recently the car of a relative of Kevin Lunney’s was burnt out. There have been poster campaigns against the men as well as graffiti.

Mr McCaffrey said: “Really the situation hasn’t changed over the last few years in terms of precautions we take.

"We have CCTV in our homes, we have panic buttons. Certainly, I would be conscious never to establish a consistent pattern of behaviours or be anywhere at the same time or same day every week.

"We have security precautions around the office. We are taking a reasonable level of precaution. We haven’t relaxed those in any way since the attack on Kevin," he said.

John McCartin, a non-executive director of Mannok, said he has been alerted at least three times by Gardaí of creditable threats since the kidnapping of Mr Lunney.

“This wasn’t a random mob... This was a private enterprise paid for by others. While the paymaster is still at large we are still facing more of the same," he claimed.

“We just try to get on with life.”

John McCartin was one of the key dealmakers behind the successful bid in 2014 to bring back the Quinn Building Products and Quinn Packaging assets under local management. Picture by Mal McCann

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