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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Main suspect in Kevin Lunney kidnap case dies after taking ill during police raid

Gardaí investigating the case have now completed searches in Cavan, Longford and Dublin.

QIH director Kevin Lunney
QIH director Kevin Lunney
Image: Spotlight/BBC Northern Ireland

Updated Fri 5:54 PM

A SUSPECT IN the investigation into the kidnapping of businessman Kevin Lunney has died after he took ill during a police raid in Derbyshire.

Cyril McGuinness took ill while Derbyshire Police were searching his home this morning as part of a major operation in the UK and Ireland.

McGuinness, also known by the nickname Dublin Jimmy, was a notorious criminal who operated mainly along the border region. While he ran seemingly legitimate businesses, gardaí and the PSNI had long believed he was behind a spate of ATM robberies across Ireland. 

Lunney’s abduction made headlines after he was discovered on a remote roadside after being dumped in Co Cavan.

He was taken from his car near his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh at around 6.40pm on 23 September. He was savagely assaulted and tortured before being left at the side of the road at Drumcoughill, Cornafean in Co Cavan sometime before 9pm the same night.

Criminals targeting Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executives are believed to have been behind the attack.

No-one has been arrested in the case to date, with police on both sides of the border under mounting pressure to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Earlier today, gardaí, the PSNI and Derbyshire Constabulary searched a number of locations in Ireland, Northern Ireland and England in their investigations into the abduction. 

Gardaí searched five locations in Co Cavan, three locations in Co Longford and four locations in Dublin. The premises were a mixture of domestic dwellings and commercial/business premises. In a statement released this evening, gardaí confirmed that the searches have now concluded.

“These searches were a valuable step in the evidence gathering stage of this ongoing criminal investigation. An Garda Síochana is not providing any further information at this time,” a spokesperson said.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland were searching five locations in Northern Ireland and the Derbyshire Constabulary are searching a location in the United Kingdom.

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When asked at a press briefing this afternoon whether they can confirm that a suspect in the abduction has died, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: “That is our understanding but that matter happened in a search in England, so that is being pursued by the authorities there.”

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton added: “The PSNI commissioned a searched in England and we were supported by police officers there and a report has been that a man has died, which is very regrettable, and that is now a matter of investigation in England.”

In a statement, the PSNI said it was searching a number of areas in Derrylin area of Fermanagh in relation to the “horrific abduction and attack” on Lunney.

The PSNI and gardaí today confirmed they have signed off on a joint investigation team, overseen by Eurojust, to allow authorities to share intelligence and evidence in the investigation. 

‘Heinous attacks’ 

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan welcomed the establishment of the first-ever joint investigation team involving An Garda Síochána.

“I am confident that gardaí and their partners in the PSNI will use the opportunities presented by this team to bring to justice those involved in these heinous attacks. I again urge any person with information on these matters to please contact An Garda Síochána or the PSNI,” he said.

“I am in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner who has assured me that An Garda Síochána, and their counterparts in Northern Ireland, will continue their relentless pursuit of the criminals involved in this case and, indeed, all those engaged in cross border criminality on this island.

The Irish government is absolutely determined to ensure that everything is done to guarantee community safety and the preservation and enhancement of the rule of law in our country.

In a statement, Quinn Industrial Holdings said the searches mark an important milestone in bringing those involved in attacks on its staff to justice. 

An Garda Síochána again appealed to anyone who has information, no matter how insignificant, on this “vicious criminal attack” or any other criminal activities which have taken place in the Cavan-Fermanagh border area over recent years to contact An Garda Síochána at Cavan Garda Station on 049 4368800, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 25 00 25 or any garda station.

With reporting by Press Association, Michelle Hennessy and Órla Ryan

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