Michael Staines
Michael Staines

17.02 5 Nov 2019


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The Fianna Fáil leader has called for a new all-island agency to tackle criminal ‘war-lords’ in the border region.

It comes as the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings met with the Garda Commissioner about the campaign of intimidation carried out against them.

The executives are demanding assurances that real action is being taken following the death threats they all received and the abduction and assault of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Lunney.

"War-lords"

In the Dáil this afternoon, the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin warned that “the rule of law is gone in the border area.”

“Both sides of the border,” he said.

“The State is not in control and hasn’t been in control for some time and criminality reigns supreme.

“We need to fundamentally alter what we have been doing in relation to that.”

“I think that does need a CAB-like joint-agency multi-disciplinary between the PSNI, An Gardaí and others.

“A taskforce will not cut it. It needs Statutory underpinning to send a message once and for all to these war-lords – enough is enough and we are not taking it anymore.”

Quinn Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (left) speaking to media alongside Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan following a meeting in Government Buildings | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Investigation

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Garda Commissioner will enter talks with the PSNI on establish a joint investigation.

He said he is not convinced a new cross-border agency is the way forward because “something like that takes a long time to establish,” but said he would not rule the idea out.

Deputy Martin said his party put forward the idea two years ago.

Border task-force

Following their meeting with Commissioner Harris this afternoon, the Quinn Industrial Holdings questioned why it took the savage attack on Kevin Lunney for resources to be increased in the region.

They called for urgent establishment of a dedicated cross-border task force to to uphold law and order in the region.

They said “progress is being made” and noted last Friday was the first time in five years that management at the company were not “exposed to intimidatory signage or defamatory facebook pages.”

“The tragedy is that the impetus for this action was a violent attack on Kevin,” they said.

Quinn Border Quinn Industrial Holdings Directors (L to R) Dara O'Reilly, Tony Lunney, John McCartin and CEO Liam McCaffrey leave Monaghan Garda Station following a meeting with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, 05-11-2019. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Fear

They said their families continue to live in fear and said people need to see positive action to “give them the confidence to speak out against those perpetrating this campaign of intimidation.”

“The directors of QIH, the staff and the community are putting their trust in the police services and authorities on this island but they need to see the perpetrators and more importantly the paymaster brought to justice in the short term,” they said.

They said they told the commissioner that they did not believe enough resources or attention were provided to tackle “the multitude of acts of intimidation and violence” against company staff.

“We also expressed our concern that failure to bring the orchestrator and paymaster of this campaign to justice would leave this peaceful community in a limbo status of fear and paralysis that would undermine the local economy and the rule of law and order in this region,” they said.

“We called for robust policing of the region and for the urgent establishment of a dedicated special cross-border, highly resourced task force, to deliver for this region what was achieved in respect of directed criminal activity elsewhere.”

Intimidation

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, John McCartin, a non-executive director at the company said directors were warning about the campaign of intimidation for years before Mr Lunney was attacked.

“We have been four-and-a-half years banging our heads off a wall trying to tell people that this was going to happen,” he said.

“That this was the trajectory of the behaviour and there was only one way it was all going to end.

“Hopefully within the sort of frenzied heat of examination of all of this from a public point of view the authorities will finally get to grips with it.”

He said he would be asking Commission Harris why nobody has been arrested in connection with other incidents linked to the intimidation campaign

“All of this has happened and we do need to establish how it happened, why it happened and how we can move forward from that,” he said.

Main image shows the Quinn Industrial Holdings Directors (L to R) Dara O'Reilly, Tony Lunney, John McCartin and CEO Liam McCaffrey speaking to the media outside Monaghan Garda Station following a meeting with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, 05-11-2019. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews


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