Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.36 6 Nov 2019


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A Quinn Industrial Holdings executive and brother of Kevin Lunney says the prospect of walking away from the firm has "certainly" crossed his mind.

Tony Lunney is the production director at QIH.

In an interview broadcast on BBC last night, Tony's brother Kevin spoke publicly for the first time since he was abducted and assaulted two months ago.

He described how he was beaten and tortured by three men in an attack that lasted for about two and a half hours

Speaking to Newstalk's Shane Beatty, Tony said it was an emotional and difficult interview for his brother - but he thought it was good for Kevin to discuss what happened.

Tony observed: "There were bits of it... some detail I hadn't heard before - sometimes even brothers don't share some things that you share with everyone else.

"I was very proud of him."

There had been an ongoing campaign of intimidation against QIH executives before September, but the assault on Kevin represented a significant escalation.

Tony said the prospect of walking away from the business has "certainly crossed my mind".

He suggested: "My wife and I have discussed it. That would be an easy enough decision... it would solve it for us.

"But somebody else will have to fall in there.

"We're from the area... we know all the people very well... we know 98-99% of the people are hard working, good living, genuine people.

"We feel a responsibility for that as well - if we walk away... I feel I would let them down."

However, he stressed: "There comes a time when you have to think of number one - and that's myself and my family first. We're not at that point yet, but we do need to see that action fairly soon or it's going to get there."

Tony said QIH staff have been very supportive, but added: "I know that they're nervous, that they're fearful - 98-99% of staff is dreading if we walked away, I know that."

'Ruthless and dangerous'

Tony also spoke about why he believes people have been reluctant to come forward with any information they might have about the assault and other incidents.

He said he understands why some observers might believe the border region is 'lawless', saying there are a "small number of ruthless, dangerous people".

The executive suggested: "The border is a sort of a catalyst to breed that, because it links into racketeering, smuggling, criminality."

He said border towns are ultimately towns that look like any others, but stressed there's a "lot of shady stuff going on that you don't see".

He claimed: "It has bred a culture of fear... there have been smaller incidents in the past - I'm not even alluding to [QIH], I'm talking about general crime - [that] haven't been dealt with severely, and it has emboldened these people to go further and further."

Tony said authorities such as the PSNI "have done all they can", but argued that it "goes nowhere".

He said: "When people don't see they are safe when they give information... I know you have the confidential lines and that... but people will tend to play it safe, and you can't blame them."

'We need deliverance'

Quinn Industrial Holdings executives met with the Garda Commissioner yesterday amid the ongoing cross-border efforts to find those responsible for the assault on Kevin Lunney.

Tony says he was happy with the meeting, explaining that Drew Harris was "very open" and listened carefully.

Mr Lunney observed: "He hadn't all the answers that we'd like, but to be fair they have a difficult task. It's north-south, and the border's an issue.

"I know there's good cooperation - or I'm being told there is - but even so there still is a difficulty in solving something where rules and regulations are slightly different.

"I came out of the meeting happy, but obviously we need deliverance of these people being apprehended and made to pay."

Main image: Tony Lunney, brother of Kevin Lunney, and Production Director at Quinn Industrial Holdings. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

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