Kevin Lunney ‘comfortable’ after hospital discharge, says brother

Tony Lunney praises his brother’s resilience following abduction and torture

September 29th, 2019: Fr Oliver O’Reilly, parish priest of Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, delivers a homily in the wake of the assault on local businessman Kevin Lunney, who is a director of building products manufacturer Quinn Industrial Holdings.

 

The brother of businessman Kevin Lunney said his brother was “comfortable” after being discharged from hospital in recent days and is delighted to be back with his family again.

Tony Lunney said he was “very pleased” at the sustained applause from his fellow parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan to remarks by Fr Ollie O’Reilly condemning the assault on his brother last month as “barbaric”.

He said he was reassured by the public display of support for Fr O’Reilly’s homily, in which the priest described his brother’s assailants as “a mafia-style group with its own godfather” and compared the attack by “hired savage thugs” to a “modern form of crucifixion” by terrorist group Islamic State.

Mr Lunney, who like his brother works as an executive at Quinn Industrial Holdings, spoke positively about his brother making a full recovery from his abduction and torture. “Kevin is resilient so he will get through this…. He is a tough nut,” he said.

A spokesman for the company said Kevin Lunney and his family are “enormously grateful for the support and best wishes received since his recent abduction and violent attack”.

“Kevin has now been released from hospital and has asked for privacy in his ongoing recovery in the care of his family,” he said.

The Garda and Police Service of Northern Ireland are investigating the attack, which marked a violent escalation in the years-long campaign of intimidation and assaults against executives of the group once controlled by local businessman Seán Quinn. Mr Quinn has disavowed the campaign and attack.

Mr Lunney received knife wounds to his face and neck and had one of his legs broken in two places in a sustained attack before being dumped more than two hours after his abduction on a roadside in Cornafean, Co Cavan, about a 40-minute drive from his home across the Border in Co Fermanagh.

Fr O’Reilly, who is close to the Lunney family, said Kevin Lunney was improving physically but his recovery from the psychological trauma of the attack would take longer.

“Remember, he was utterly tortured and look at what was done with his leg, broken twice, some of his fingernails pulled out, he was stabbed all over the place. Outwardly you will heal but inwardly what does that do to you, to the point where he thought he was going to die?” he said.

‘False narrative’

In his homily, Fr O’Reilly challenged the “false narrative” being promoted by a small number of people. He said the directors of QIH were “not usurpers” of the business but men who came back in 2014 to manage the company “in order to save jobs” after Mr Quinn lost it to his creditors.

Speaking afterwards outside his church, Fr O’Reilly said he felt “a little frustrated” that nobody in the community had taken the lead to speak out against the attacks on QIH and its executives over the years.

He acknowledged there was a “rawness” and “pain” in challenging views and allegiances within the community but some people must realise they made a mistake by being “on one side” in the past.

“A few years ago people were caught on another side and now they have to travel that path to where the story is at at the moment and that is a difficult road to travel,” he said.

Fr O’Reilly said he felt he had to speak out as he would regret it if he remained silent. “If the thing is escalating and then someone dies, then you regret it and think, what the hell were you doing that you didn’t give a warning.”