PSNI examine photo of masked man reading QIH death threat
Man in balaclava pictured reading letter threatening to kill directors of Border firm
A photograph of a man appearing to read out the latest death threat against the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings is being examined by the PSNI. Photograph: Courtesy of the Irish News
The photograph, which appeared in Belfast-based newspaper The Irish News, features a man wearing a balaclava and holding a statement purported to be the “last warning” against the directors to resign.
A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said that it was aware of the photograph and that it was “being considered as part of the wider ongoing investigation.”
The Irish News is not releasing any further information on the circumstances in which the photo was taken. The threatening letter was released to the newspaper on Monday and shared with the PSNI that evening.
Members of the PSNI and the Garda Síochána called to the homes of the five directors of the building materials company based on the Cavan-Fermanagh border on Monday night to inform them about the fresh threat.
The letter warned the five directors that they would face a “permanent solution” if they did not resign and that they “haven’t learned your lesson” from the gang’s abduction and torture of QIH director Kevin Lunney last month.
The threat was directed at Mr Lunney; his brother Tony, QIH’s production director; chief executive Liam McCaffrey; chief financial officer Dara O’Reilly, and non-executive director John McCartin.
Mr McCartin said the photograph “demonstrates shocking audacity and blatant disregard for the rule of law.”
Mr McCaffrey has warned the Border region is “perilously close” to becoming lawless, while Mr McCartin said that it could become “ungovernable” unless threats against the company’s directors are dealt with.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris rejected the depiction of the Border area as “lawless”. However, the Government is planning to increase resources for the Garda further in the Border counties.
The latest death threat criticises the five managers for not engaging with businessman Sean Quinn, who owned the company before he lost his group in the financial crash, in his attempts to buy back the business.
Mr Quinn has condemned the years-long campaign of intimidation and violence against the men who formerly worked for him but has criticised how he was treated by the company when he departed as an adviser in 2016.
The Garda commissioner and PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne spoke by phone on Wednesday about the ongoing investigations into the attack on Mr Lunney as part of their regular communications.
The two police forces, north and south of the Border, are cooperating on the investigation into the attack and continuing threats against the local businessmen.