18 Oct 2019

Brutality, betrayal and the Northern Irish borderlands

Correspondent

As Mr Lunney drove up the lane to his house, two cars boxed him in. He was abducted and taken across the border into the Republic of Ireland. There, he was tortured. Mr Lunney was left with “life-changing injuries”.

On the evening of the 17th September, Kevin Lunney, a father of six, left work at Quinn Industrial Holdings. QIH is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest and most well-known manufacturing firms.

As Mr Lunney drove up the lane to his house, two cars boxed him in. He was abducted and taken across the border into the Republic of Ireland. There, he was tortured. Mr Lunney was left with “life-changing injuries”.

His brother, Tony Lunney, also a director at QIH, tells Channel 4 News: “I just can’t understand that any human being would do that to another. I don’t know. You wouldn’t do it to an animal.”

This attack is not the first time a QIH boss has been targeted. There have been over 70 examples of harassment, including multiple arson attacks. A local priest has publicly alleged that a “mafia style group with its own Godfather” is operating in the Fermanagh and Cavan area.

Who is behind the vendetta against QIH Executives? And why? Our correspondent Paraic O’Brien has been to the border to investigate.

He speaks to the former billionaire Sean Quinn. QIH was formed from the collapse of Mr Quinn’s empire.

Mr Quinn built a major conglomerate, starting with gravel and eventually expanding into hotels, cement and insurance. He lost billions of euros in a failed financial bet on Anglo Irish Bank shares and by 2012 he was declared bankrupt. The bitter recriminations of the collapse have rocked the Cavan and Fermanagh area.

In a rare television interview, he tells Paraic that he denies knowing about, commissioning, or sanctioning the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney, saying:

“I’d have no hand, act or part or no knowledge or no gain; I’d have no benefit of doing anything to Kevin Lunney. Kevin Lunney and I were good friends for years.”

Sean Quinn is also anxious to highlight the anger in some parts of the community at how he was treated by QIH executives.

“The locals are also very angry about that they’ve done to me: throwing me out the gate, giving me nothing, sacking me. They’re very, very angry.”

“I’d think somebody with a high IQ would know that Sean Quinn is not a real fool. And that he would know that if something would have happened to Kevin Lunney, that people would be looking in his direction. Wouldn’t I know that? So, unless they consider me a real idiot, there’s no way that I could allow that to be done in my name.”

Watch an extended interview with Sean Quinn here:

7m