Lunney’s description of kidnap underlines need to find culprits

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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It has taken the attack on Kevin Lunney, and his description of it on BBC Spotlight on Tuesday, for the intimidation of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executives to be widely known and understood.

There had been previous threats to the individuals and damage to their property, some of which was widely reported, but it was Mr Lunney’s abduction last month that underscored the seriousness of the situation in Fermanagh.

Mr Lunney’s account of what happened, given in a frank interview to Jim Fitzpatrick, made for harrowing listening.

He detailed what was a clear attempt to terrorise the leaders of QIH into thinking that their lives could be taken, as well as a calculated act of grievous bodily harm.

These are criminal offences of the highest order, and the people behind them should be serving decades behind bars.

That means not just the violent thugs who abducted Mr Lunney, but more importantly the godfathers who ordered it.

People in authority have spoken out with one voice in condemnation at the lawlessness, from politicians to priests to business leaders and to police on both sides of the border.

It is always hard to police determined gangsterism in a rural area with a low population density, where there are few passers by and illicit activity can be easily hidden from general public view.

But the PSNI, the gardai, and Irish ministers including Leo Varadkar have vowed to uphold the rule of law in the border areas affected by this case. This response is a clear example of sensible cross-border co-operation.

There has been long-standing goodwill across the community towards the Quinn enterprises and the employment that it all created over the decades.

The QIH executives have been at the helm of efforts to retrieve and manage remnants of what was once a major business empire. Mr Lunney has shown courage in revealing the extreme and violent pressure to which he was subjected while playing his part in that salvage operation.