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arson probes

IRA-linked criminals are 'people of interest' in Quinn Holdings arson attacks

Managers and their families have been targeted in arson attacks.

GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING A number of arson attacks against current members of the Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) business as well as their family members have received information implicating two republicans in the crime. 

In the last two months, there have been fire attacks on a car at the home of Chief Financial Officer Dara O’Reilly in Butlersbridge, Cavan, and one at a tyre factory in Cavan which is owned by a senior manager of QIH.

Most recently, the car of QIH’s senior manager Tony Lunney’s daughter was set alight outside the family’s home in Ballyconnell, Cavan, at about 11.20pm on Halloween night.

Gardaí in the Cavan district have been carrying out detailed investigations into all three incidents and believe they are linked to a continuous campaign of intimidation against members of the QIH. 

QIH was established in 2014 and comprises elements of now bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn’s former businesses.

Quinn was once the richest person in Ireland, but lost control of his business empire  after making a significant investment in the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

Quinn briefly worked as a consultant for QIH before leaving the role in 2016.

From the outset, gardaí believed that the attacks were being carried out by people with links to republican dissidents in the area. 

Gardaí have drawn up a list of persons of interest in the arson cases. Two men known to each other are part of the list. The men, who are believed to be members of an IRA splinter group, have been on the gardaí’s radar for a number of years. They are also suspected of being involved in a number of crimes across the border region in the last five years.

In the wake of the latest incident, QIH’s chief executive Liam McCaffrey said: “It is grossly unacceptable that criminals who threaten the lives and wellbeing of staff on both sides of the border continue to operate with impunity

“It is also enormously frustrating that following years of intimidation and threats and a substantial escalation of violence over recent months that not a single arrest has been made.

“Unless politicians and the authorities on both sides of the Border properly prioritise and resource this issue, as they have with gangland and paramilitary crime in other areas, lives will be lost.

“More than 830 staff and their families and the wider community are impacted by this violence and intimidation and they are in urgent need of reassurance that this issue is being taken seriously.”

Gardaí continue to investigate each incident. No arrests have been made so far.

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