Seán Quinn says family ‘outraged’ by ‘barbaric’ attack on Kevin Lunney
Senior Quinn executive abducted and beaten on way home from work
Former billionaire, Sean Quinn, arriving at the Four Courts. File photograph: Collins
Businessman Seán Quinn has condemned as “barbaric” the attack on Kevin Lunney, a senior executive in the network of companies once owned by the Quinn family.
“Any proper individual with a sense of morals would condemn that,” he told regional radio station Northern Sound on Thursday.
“My family is outraged as well and they fear that we will take flack for this.”
Mr Quinn pointed out that “these guys sacked me over three years ago” and he had not been involved in the company since then. The attack “just doesn’t make any sense, that’s not what moral individuals do to each other.”
The PSNI and Garda are conducting a major cross-border inquiry into what security sources said was an “horrific beating” of Mr Lunney. Mr Lunney, who is Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) chief operating officer, was abducted near his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh as he returned from work at 6.40pm on Tuesday and his car was set on fire. He was found more than two hours later approximately 35km away at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, in Co Cavan, badly injured and dumped on a roadside after being beaten with a baseball bat. It is understood that Mr Lunney had been due to attend a meeting of QIH directors and its US hedge fund financial backers on Wednesday.
“Mr Lunney sustained a broken leg and range of other very severe, but non-life threatening injuries for which he is being treated in a nearby hospital,” the company said.
It emerged on Wednesday that he was among five senior executives and company directors recently named in an anonymous letter that threatened “a permanent solution” against them.
The letter, received in May, was treated as a death threat by QIH, which passed it on to the Garda and the PSNI.
(How Seán Quinn’s empire was divided up - the rise and fall of the Quinns).
Mr Quinn said he was disappointed that people were “blaming” him. There was a lot of conflict in the area because of legal proceedings. But he “totally condemned” the attack on Mr Lunney. “It shouldn’t be linked to me.”
His own family had been on to him concerned that they “would be blamed for this,” he said. “What do they want me to do? Hang from the cross? I was never involved in violence, we’re not into that.
“All I can do is send out my condolences to Kevin and Bronagh and whatever number of children they have. Express my sympathy to them. My view is you wouldn’t do that to a dog. It is not natural, it is barbaric.”
Mr Quinn added that “the whole Quinn fiasco” had been calming down prior to this attack. “People were moving on with their lives.”
He said he did not want to be associated with what had happened. “People who are doing this are not for us, they are going to damage us. How can we be blamed for this? What does (sic) people want me to do?”
Mr Quinn said that the ongoing issue of ill feeling in the community could be resolved if Quinn executives met with the community to address concerns rather than issuing legal proceedings.
“Intervention would help to get some sense of this thing.
“We’re out of it, but there is an ongoing problem. I’m not blaming any one, but proceedings shouldn’t be in court, they should sit around a table.”
Quinn Industrial Holdings executive John McCartan warned on Thursday that the attack will “injure everyone” in the area.
The incident was “an attack on the economic well being of the region” and put more than the 850 Quinn Industrial Holdings jobs at risk - it would also have an impact on contractors and much of the wider economy and financial circles, he said.
Mr McCartan told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that he wanted the people who carried out the attack on Mr Lunney “to be brought to heel” but that also the people who “instigated” and “were paying for” such incidents to be caught.
People in the area had been slow to speak in the past because of a sense of fear, he said. But their patience is now wearing thin “at this stage.”
He and other businesspeople had gotten into “this project” in a bid to save the business and jobs. “We cannot lose sight of the importance of that.”
When asked if he was concerned about the attack and other incidents of intimidation, he said yes, he was, but he was also concerned about the impact news of the attack could have on future investment in the business and the region.
Mr McCartan said he had spoken with the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and was reassured that the Minister was aware of the enormity of the task and the level of resources that would be required to investigate the case.