‘Paymaster’ in Kevin Lunney abduction faces life in jail, judge warns

Hunt continues for person who funded attack as three sentenced for up to 30 years

The mystery "paymaster" who funded the abduction and assault of Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney could face life imprisonment if convicted, the Special Criminal Court has indicated.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt issued the warning on Monday as the non-jury court imposed sentences of up to 30 years on three men over their role in the attack of "calculated savagery" on Mr Lunney.

The gravity of these crimes involving a level of permanent harm to the victim not usually found in so-called tiger kidnappings should be marked by “very lengthy” determinate sentences, he said.

This trio were prepared to do “very dirty work” for the organisers but headline life sentences should be reserved for those “that organised, financed or potentially obtained significant benefits from these crimes”.


The hunt for the "paymaster" who funded the attack is continuing on both sides of the Border. The paymaster is suspected of being behind threats made in the last year to other directors of Mannok, the company formerly known as QIH.


QIH was previously owned by one-time billionaire Seán Quinn, who has condemned the attack on Mr Lunney as barbaric.

Last month, the three-judge Special Criminal Court convicted three men of falsely imprisoning and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17th, 2019.

One of the three may only be identified as YZ for legal reasons. The others, both from East Wall, Dublin, are Alan O'Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, and Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road.

The 40-day trial heard Mr Lunney was abducted outside his home and taken to a container where his leg was broken with a baseball bat and the letters QIH were scored into his chest with a Stanley knife. He was stripped to his underwear, doused in bleach and dumped on a country road.

The court sentenced YZ, the “ringleader” whom it found last month had inflicted the most serious injuries on Mr Lunney, to 30 years.

O’Brien and Redmond were jailed for 25 and 18 years respectively, with the last three years of Redmond’s sentence suspended on conditions.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times