Men convicted in Lunney case get up to 30 years in prison

Judge characterises trio’s actions as ‘premeditated brutality’ and ‘calculated savagery’

Three men convicted of abducting and intentionally causing serious harm to businessman Kevin Lunney have been sentenced by the Special Criminal Court (SCC) to prison terms of 18, 25 and 30 years.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, giving the three judge, non-jury court’s sentencing decision on Monday, said those who participate in such “premeditated brutality” and “calculated savagery” on a decent man to serve the ends of organised criminals must expect severe sentences.

The highest sentence, life, must be reserved for whoever organised and financed this “deliberate, callous and vicious” attack designed not just to terrorise Mr Lunney but also others, he said.

A man who for legal reasons may only be identified as YZ, whom the court had held was responsible for inflicting most of the serious injuries on Mr Lunney and whom it described on Monday as the “ringleader” of the attack, was jailed for 30 years.


Mr Lunney was targeted by YZ in a “deliberate, sinister and intimidating” way and some of his previous convictions showed a disregard for the integrity of others, the court said.

YZ has 180 previous convictions, including a number for serious criminal offences.

Although the court had been told YZ had a difficult early life, that mitigating factor could only count for so much in relation to the sentence that should be imposed for setting out to torture a fellow human being, said the judge.

Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, and Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, East Wall, were jailed for 25 and 18 years respectively with the last three years of Redmond’s sentence suspended on conditions.

The court had held O’Brien was present while YZ was inflicting the most serious assaults on Mr Lunney, had himself assaulted Mr Lunney on occasions and had left with YZ to get bleach with which Mr Lunney was doused in an effort to destroy any forensic evidence.

It also held O’Brien’s prior criminal record showed a propensity for violence.

It found Redmond did not participate in a dry run for the abduction the previous day but it concluded he was an assistant to YZ, although in a lesser capacity than was O’Brien.

It also believed Redmond, whose two previous convictions were for minor offences, had come under the “malign” influence of YZ.

All three men were found guilty last month of falsely imprisoning and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17th, 2019.

Mr Lunney told the trial he was bundled into the boot of an Audi car near his home by two masked men and driven to a container where he was threatened and told he must resign as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings and must halt litigation on both sides of the Border with which he was involved.

Doused in bleach

His leg was broken with a baseball bat, he was beaten to the ground, his face was cut and the letters QIH were scored into his chest with a Stanley knife.

He was stripped to his boxer shorts, doused in bleach and dumped on a country road in Co Cavan where he was discovered by a tractor driver.

Last month, the SCC found YZ responsible for inflicting most of Mr Lunney’s serious injuries and that O’Brien and Redmond were also involved in the kidnapping and assault.

On Monday, Mr Justice Hunt expressed the court’s admiration for Mr Lunney over how he conducted himself during and after his ordeal.

Mr Lunney had shown decency and humanity in his victim-impact statement, a decency and humanity which was lacking in the actions of his attackers, and would undoubtedly carry the impact of this attack to the end of his days, he said.

In the sentencing decision, the judge said all three men had participated in an enterprise “carefully and meticulously planned” by a serious criminal organisation which involved setting out “to torture a fellow human being”.

These crimes fell into the exceptionally serous category outside those associated with other Tiger kidnaps and involved a level of permanent harm, he said.

Lesser sentences, as sought by lawyers on behalf of the three, would act as an incentive rather than a deterrent concerning such crimes, said the judge said.

He wished Mr Lunney and his family well for the future. The judge also praised the Garda and PSNI for their investigative work and thanked all those who assisted the investigation.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times