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'A barbaric and cowardly act': Flanagan condemns 'utterly disgraceful' Kevin Lunney attack

Gardaí and PSNI are investigating after Kevin Lunney was abducted near his home in Derrylin in Fermanagh.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Updated Sep 19th 2019, 7:25 PM

JUSTICE MINISTER CHARLIE Flanagan has condemned the “utterly disgraceful” attack on Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney. 

Gardaí and the PSNI are investigating after Kevin Lunney was abducted near his home in Derrylin in Fermanagh on Tuesday evening.

The company director was taken to another location and attacked before being dumped on the side of a road in Cavan with what are being described as “life-changing” injuries a number of hours later.

Speaking to local radio station Northern Sound this morning, businessman Sean Quinn hit out at those responsible for the attack.

Quinn’s business empire came crashing down in the Celtic Tiger, when the former billionaire from Derrylin went bankrupt with huge debts resulting from massive shares in the now-infamous Anglo-Irish Bank.

While it had been mooted that he would remain on as an adviser to the company, Quinn left that position with Quinn Industrial Holdings, the company that took over his business, in 2016.

Speaking during topical issues in the Dáil this afternoon, Flanagan said that as the incident is subject to a significant police investigation, “it wouldn’t be appropriate to engage in detailed discussions in the Chamber”. 

However, he continued: 

I do want to clearly and unequivocally condemn the utterly disgraceful attack that took place on Mr Lunney. 
This was a barbaric and cowardly act by barbarous thugs who have no regard for human decency or the rule of law on either side of the border. 

Flanagan said both gardaí and the PSNI “will leave no stone left unturned in seeking to identify and bring justice to those responsible for this sinister and reprehensible act”. 

“I want to again take the opportunity to wish Mr Lunney and his family well, as they begin the process of recovering from this horrific and traumatic incident,” Flanagan said. 

He added that he has spoke directly Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and asked him to keep him information about the investigation’s progress. 

‘Total lawlessness’

Also speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said such violence was a reminder of the ”gangland paramilitary-style punishment beatings of the past” in the past.

The people behind the “brutality” and “total lawlessness” of what happened must be brought to justice, he said.

He “strongly” encouraged those in the community who know the perpetrators to come forward.

“Many people know who these people are,” said the Tánaiste, adding:

“This is not what people in the border counties want or will accept.”

He said Quinn Holdings had been in contact with the gardaí and the PSNI in relation to intimidation and violence in the past, but he said the attack on Lunney was “by far the most serious”. 

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The event will have a huge impact on Lunney and his family, said Coveney, adding that the incident could have led to “a man’s death”. 

The authorities both north and south of the border must give this case the “highest priority”, he said, stating that such attacks must be “stamped out”. 

Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary, who raised the matter with the Tánaiste during Leaders’ Questions today said that people living in the area deserve to know that the people responsible will be brought to justice. 

He said there has been a complacency about dealing with the issue and pursuing those responsible. 

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty also condemned the attack, stating that there is no justification for people “shielding or covering up” those behind the attack. 

He said Lunney was a man “just doing his job” and creating employment to the border regions. 

In a statement yesterday, the PSNI said that anyone with information that may assist the case can call 101, quoting reference number 1748.

Alternatively if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, the PSNI said they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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