DPP set to consider new charges over Lunney-QIH campaign of violence

Garda Commissioner says significant investigation continues into ‘wider conspiracy’

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris: A cross-Border criminal investigation was continuing into the suspected ‘wider conspiracy’, including financial transactions, the commissioner said. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris: A cross-Border criminal investigation was continuing into the suspected ‘wider conspiracy’, including financial transactions, the commissioner said. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

 

Efforts to charge senior figures suspected of directing the abduction and assault of businessman Kevin Lunney are continuing and more files will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions within weeks, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.

Asked for his reaction to the conviction of three men this week by the Special Criminal Court over the 2019 attack on the Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director, Mr Harris said: “That’s a good start, but work to do.

“We have a lot to investigate yet and get to the bottom of,” he added. “When one engages in long-term acts of criminal deception, then you do leave a trail. And there’s persistence and diligence on our part to uncover that trail.”

A cross-Border criminal investigation was continuing into the suspected “wider conspiracy”, including financial transactions, the commissioner said.

“What I would say is the rule of law and order will prevail,” he added. “There were three convictions yesterday, which are very welcome. The investigation in effect carries on. It doesn’t start from yesterday. There’s more files to be submitted and the further investigation carries on.”

Abduction

Mr Lunney (51), a father of six, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh on September 17th as part of the ongoing campaign of violence and threats against executives at QIH.

His leg was broken and the letters QIH were carved into his chest during the 2½-hour ordeal before he was dumped on a rural roadside in Co Cavan and later found in a bloodied and beaten state by a man in a tractor.

Alan O’Brien (40) and Darren Redmond (27), both from East Wall in Dublin, and a 40-year-old man, identified only as YZ, had all denied charges of falsely imprisoning and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney. However, they were convicted by the three-judge, non-jury on Monday. Luke O’Reilly (68), from Kilcogy, Co Cavan, was acquitted on the same charges.

Cyril McGuinness, also known as “Dublin Jimmy”, was regarded as the leader of the Border gang that has attacked and intimidated the QIH executive team in recent years. McGuinness, a Dublin man who had long settled in Co Fermanagh, died of a cardiac event in November 2019, when English police raided a safe house he was staying in near Buxton in Derbyshire.

However, the QIH executive team has always alleged that a senior figure, which they had termed the “paymaster”, was effectively directing and funding the criminal network attacking them.

They believe the “paymaster” was directing and funding McGuinness, who was then the direct manager of the criminals carrying out the campaign.

US law enforcement

Speaking at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, Mr Harris also said he had been in the US last week to meet law enforcement agencies.

When asked about efforts to bring leading members of the Kinahan cartel to justice, he disclosed that he had been to Washington to meet “federal law enforcement” about “transnational organised crime groups”.

One of those meetings, with the US Secret Service, focused on cyber crime. It is understood the topics covered included the international fraud gangs carrying out text message and call-based scams in the State.