Arsonists damage Quinn executive's home and car

 

A CAR outside the home of businessman Paul O’Brien, the man appointed chief executive to the Quinn Group by receiver KPMG, has been attacked by arsonists.

The attackers set fire to his BMW 4X4, which exploded, causing damage to Mr O’Brien’s home and that of his neighbour.

The 44-year-old executive who has been running the Quinn Group was not at home when the attack occurred late on Monday night. Gardaí believe the attack is linked to his work in the group.

It follows a series of incidents in which parties opposed to the current Quinn management regime have tried to sabotage some of the company’s operations and have issued threats to staff.

According to Garda sources, in the latest attack an accelerant was thrown over two vehicles – one of them a BMW 4X4 – owned by the O’Brien family and parked outside their home in Ratoath, Co Meath.

The accelerant was then set on fire and the BMW was destroyed. An explosion broke the windows in the front of the O’Brien family home in Foxlodge Wood and also damaged windows in a neighbour’s property.

Emergency services were alerted when the incident occurred before 11.30pm and the fire was brought under control.

The charred shell of Mr O’Brien’s BMW was taken from the scene for a forensic examination. A second vehicle parked in the driveway was not damaged by the flames.

The Quinn Group issued a strongly worded statement following the incident. “The Quinn Group wishes to put on record its total condemnation of what is in effect a terrorist attack on the home and property of our chief executive,” it said.

“The perpetrators of this attack have been behind a series of incidents aimed at damaging Quinn Group property and machinery.” It said the incidents began almost immediately after the appointment of a share receiver to the group last April.

“All of the incidents which have taken place since April last are clearly aimed at destabilising the group’s businesses and putting the livelihoods of thousands of Quinn workers at risk.

“The board of the Quinn Group is determined that the perpetrators of these attacks will not succeed and we have the full support of all employees, local community leaders and elected representatives in this regard.

“We will not be intimidated by the actions of a small group of thugs and vandals.”

Anglo Irish Bank, which is owed €2.88 billion by the Quinn Group and appointed KPMG as receiver, also condemned the incident. The attack was “a sinister and potentially fatal turn in the campaign of sabotage waged against the Quinn Group of companies since the share receiver was appointed”.

There was “no conceivable justification” for any of these acts, the bank said. “The personal nature of last night’s attack is a new low in business intimidation and must be unequivocally condemned by all who have the interests of the workers, their families and their communities at heart.”

Before the attack a number of staff at the Quinn Group had been threatened by elements unhappy that the group is in receivership.

A wind farm was vandalised and efforts were made to cut the power supply to the group’s glass plant in Co Fermanagh, which would crystallise heated liquid glass and ruin much of the machinery in the plant if it had been successful.

Fibre-optic cables were cut in the group’s head office in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, and a dumper truck was driven into bollards at the entrance of the offices.