herald

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Quinn bosses to quiz garda chief over death threats investigation

Kevin Lunney was abducted and tortured for two hours
Kevin Lunney was abducted and tortured for two hours

The directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) will meet the garda commissioner tomorrow to seek an update on efforts to bring to justice those behind a series of chilling death threats and assaults against them.

It's been six weeks since QIH director Kevin Lunney was abducted from his Fermanagh home and tortured for over two hours.

However, no arrests have yet been made, on either side of the Border.

The issue of "inciting hatred" by individuals at public meetings is also expected to be raised with Drew Harris.

Director John McCartin told the Herald: "We're looking for criminality in the area to be dealt with at every level, right the way down to people sitting at meetings making hate speeches, defamation or inflammation.

"People were allowed to do this publicly and never questioned.

"They were allowed to deliver threats personally to us and never questioned."

It comes as the masked thug pictured reading out the latest death threats was suspected of being a dissident republican.

The man, originally from the North but now living in Co Cavan, has been nominated as a suspect by a number of people who recognised him after the image was sent to the Irish News and later published.

The PSNI previously said it was examining the picture as part of its wider investigation into the threats.

After it was issued, the five QIH directors were formally warned by police services on both sides of the Border of credible threats against them.

It led to armed gardai being placed near the homes of senior executives, while the PSNI has also deployed an armed presence near QIH buildings in the North.

Over the weekend it also emerged that a Cavan priest who blamed a "mafia-style group" for involvement in the attack on Mr Lunney is upgrading security at his parish home.

Fr Oliver O'Reilly, the parish priest of Ballyconnell, told the Herald he is increasing his security "because the more you speak out, the more you put yourself at risk".

The outspoken cleric said he is stepping back from further public comment in the hope of fostering peace, but said he would be back if the campaign of intimidation against the Quinn companies and the QIH directors continues.

"I find that in the last month, a whole lot of things have happened. I want to take a back seat for a while. If there is further intimidation, I intend to return to the fray," he said.

Last week, officers were required to remove an inflammatory poster directed at QIH directors after Cavan County Council refused to - citing threats to the safety of its staff.

Sign

The sign had been in place for over a year and Mr Harris said it would be removed with "specialist help" if needed.

In a statement, QIH welcomed the removal.

"It was about intimidation of the local community and efforts to obstruct enforcement of the rule of law in this area. Perhaps removal of the sign will be a sign in its own right that the State will no longer tolerate overt acts of defiance and intimidation against individuals, communities or State organisations," a spokesperson said.

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