Gar­daí hop­ing for break in Lun­ney case

Doc­u­ments and com­puter records found in po­lice raid may pro­vide link to ‘pay­mas­ter’ Search for un­ex­plained pay­ments to sus­pected gang leader McGuin­ness

The Irish Times - - Front Page - CONOR LALLY and SIMON CARSWELL

Doc­u­ments and com­puter records found in the house where the sus­pected leader of the gang that has waged a cam­paign of in­tim­i­da­tion against Quinn In­dus­trial Hold­ings ex­ec­u­tives was hid­ing are to be an­a­lysed by po­lice.

Cyril McGuin­ness (54), who was known as “Dublin Jimmy”, died of an ap­par­ent heart at­tack when Der­byshire po­lice raided the prop­erty at 7.30am yes­ter­day where he was stay­ing in Bux­ton. Gar­daí and the PSNI be­lieve McGuin­ness, a Dubliner based in Co Fer­managh, was the leader of a crim­i­nal gang that has waged a cam­paign of in­tim­i­da­tion and vi­o­lence against ex­ec­u­tives at QIH in re­cent years. That cam­paign in­cluded the ab­duc­tion and tor­ture of Kevin Lun­ney in Septem­ber.

The QIH ex­ec­u­tive team be­lieve the men per­pe­trat­ing the vi­o­lence are tak­ing or­ders from, and be­ing funded by, a sus­pect they call “the pay­mas­ter” whose aim, the ex­ec­u­tives be­lieve, is to drive them out of the com­pany. The doc­u­ments, lap­tops, phones and other de­vices found at the Bux­ton ad­dress will now be checked to es­tab­lish who McGuin­ness had been in con­tact with and if he was in re­ceipt of un­ex­plained pay­ments and, if so, from whom.

Se­cu­rity sources said McGuin­ness be­lieved his lo­ca­tion was com­pletely un­known to po­lice and be­cause of that he had taken the records with him to con­ceal them from the Garda and PSNI.

Series of searches

The raid at the Bux­ton prop­erty was one of 18 searches car­ried out in Ire­land and Bri­tain yes­ter­day as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ab­duc­tion of Mr Lun­ney (50) chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer at QIH.

In the Repub­lic, five lo­ca­tions were searched in Co Ca­van, three in Co Long­ford and four in Dublin. More than 100 Garda mem­bers were in­volved, in­clud­ing the armed Re­gional Sup­port Unit, Na­tional Sup­port

Ser­vices Dog Unit, Na­tional Bureau of Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion, Drugs and Or­gan­ised Crime Bureau and Na­tional Pub­lic Or­der Unit.

In the North five lo­ca­tions were searched, in­clud­ing prop­er­ties linked to McGuin­ness in Co Fer­managh and some of his close as­so­ciates. The searches in the dif­fer­ent ju­ris­dic­tions cen­tred on pri­vate res­i­dences and busi­ness premises, in­clud­ing yards and in­dus­trial sheds.

QIH wel­comed the joint in­ves­tiga­tive effort by the Garda, the PSNI and Der­byshire Con­stab­u­lary. As well as the raids yes­ter­day, the Garda and PSNI also signed off on the cre­ation of a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team, un­der the Euro­just po­lice co-op­er­a­tion agency, into the at­tack on Mr Lun­ney and all of the re­lated threats and vi­o­lence as far back as 2012. Garda Com­mis­sioner Drew Har­ris said the joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team, the first of its kind be­tween the Garda and PSNI, would al­low for greater co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the two po­lice forces and also the pros­e­cu­tion au­thor­i­ties.

QIH chair­man Adrian Bar­den said that while the com­pany was re­lieved at the series of co-or­di­nated po­lice raids af­ter years of in­ac­tion, it wanted to see ar­rests and the pay­mas­ter be­hind the long-run­ning cam­paign of in­tim­i­da­tion and at­tacks caught.

“It is one thing get­ting the peo­ple that have done the ac­tiv­ity but it is more im­por­tant to find out who has been pay­ing for it be­cause they would not have done it on their own vo­li­tion.” Mr Bar­den said the in­tim­i­da­tion, van­dal­ism and vi­o­lence against the Ca­van-Fer­managh com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tives “feels like things you see from the Mafia or Peaky Blin­ders”.

“Whilst there has been a huge in­vest­ment in this busi­ness, is it re­ally worth a life? I don’t think any money is,” he said.

‘‘ McGuin­ness be­lieved his lo­ca­tion was com­pletely un­known to po­lice

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