The courageous priest who condemned the kidnapping and torture of Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney was warned ‘you’re subsequent’ after he delivered his hard-hitting sermon from the altar.
Following this week’s three-part documentary, Quinn Nation, which was broadcast on RTÉ One, Fr Oliver O’Reilly revealed he was informed his life was ‘in danger’ after he spoke out in opposition to the marketing campaign of violence directed at corporations previously owned by the bankrupt former billionaire.
The 75-year-old priest remembers how he acquired a cellphone name after he made his public stand.
Fr O’Reilly informed Additional.ie: ‘I received a cellphone name… telling me that I ought to modify the feedback from the earlier Sunday and make some clarifications the next weekend and [they] outlined the clarifications that [they] wished me to make.’
After, previously an in depth affiliate of Mr Quinn’s, Fr O’Reilly informed his congregation at Plenty on September 28 and September 29 in 2019 that ‘a Rubicon had now been crossed’.
After years of intimidation in opposition to former Quinn executives who took over the working of his companies after he misplaced management of them, the priest blamed ‘a mafia-style group with its personal godfather’ for the assault on Mr Lunney.
A number of weeks after delivering the homily, Fr O’Reilly was informed he was ‘beneath menace’. The priest mentioned: ‘I received a kind of tip-off. Automobiles have been being burned and I used to be informed my automotive was going to be subsequent. I took it significantly, so I put in safety cameras on the home.
‘The tip got here from somebody I wouldn’t know very nicely. This individual can be within the know. They wouldn’t be my buddy or an enemy of mine. They’d received a tip that my automotive can be subsequent… it was simply recommendation and I might have regard for his or her recommendation as a result of they knew there was a menace.’
Nevertheless, Fr O’Reilly says he refused to permit himself to be intimidated. ‘It didn’t make me really feel nervous in my own residence. Should you work within the missions, like I did, I typically really feel you both sink or swim since you are within the wild, you’re by yourself and it’s a must to dig the deepest into your self and you discover survival methods.
‘Nicely I did, thanks be to God, in order that [working in the missions] was a terrific formation for me in some ways.’ Fr Oliver is talking after he was publicly labelled a ‘backstabber’ by Seán Quinn’s spouse Patricia within the documentary that aired on RTÉ over three nights this week.
Within the documentary, Mrs Quinn additionally mentioned she would ‘by no means forgive’ the priest. Fr O’Reilly says he was ‘shocked, sure’ on the feedback, including: ‘I used to be dissatisfied in her tone. It was hurtful.’
However the courageous Cavan-born cleric insists he has no regrets about making his public stand. ‘Should you converse out on points, you count on perhaps some recrimination. It’s a part of the job, it’s the danger in your job however to me I by no means referred to the Quinn household in any sense.
‘Not more than the documentary, I offered the details as I noticed them. Most individuals reacted positively and a small variety of folks reacted negatively.
‘I’ve an open relationship with folks and there wasn’t something mentioned that was excessive. Folks mentioned issues like “there’s no paymaster right here, it’s simply renegade republicans carrying this out”.
‘I believe it was organised by a paymaster or paymasters and I nonetheless consider that. And, sure, I might say the identical once more.’
Fr Oliver says thewas the final straw following a sequence of assaults on former Quinn-owned companies within the border space.
‘I spoke out due to the violence in opposition to Kevin Lunney. It’s a miracle that man survived. I knew there was a stage of intimidation occurring however I by no means [thought it would go that far] …it was tolerable [at the time].
‘However what occurred to Kevin Lunney crossed the Rubicon, and there’s some extent the place you both arise otherwise you’re a coward.
‘So I felt you could have a conscience, take the danger, it would rebound on you however a minimum of you could have a transparent conscience.’ Mr Lunney was set upon as he drove residence from work on the night of September 17, 2019.
Over a harrowing four-hour interval, the father-of-six’s nails have been reduce and scraped with a blade whereas his palms have been tied with cable ties. Bleach was poured throughout his physique in a bid to take away his kidnappers’ DNA.
His leg was damaged and his face reduce on each side from ear to chin with a Stanley knife. Mr Lunney’s abductors warned him that he and all the opposite then-directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings ought to resign from their positions. He was additionally informed to halt sure authorized instances.
On the time, Mr Lunney was concerned in two defamation instances on each side of the border. He had additionally taken out an injunction in opposition to a named individual within the North. Earlier than bundling him up and dumping him on the aspect of a street, Mr Lunney’s kidnappers carved the phrases ‘QIH’ onto his chest.
When requested in regards to the brutal assault through the documentary sequence aired this week, Seán Quinn – as soon as Eire’s richest man with a reported fortune of as much as €5bn – mentioned: ‘I’ve nothing good to say about Kevin Lunney.’
He denied having something to do along with his former affiliate’s abduction and torture, saying: ‘Completely nothing, why would I trouble me head with Kevin Lunney?’
However he added: ‘One factor I believe that any individual ought to ask Kevin Lunney… why was he attacked?’ This time final yr, three males have been jailed for Mr Lunney’s abduction and torture.
They have been Alan O’Brien, 40, of Shelmalier Street, East Wall, Dublin; Darren Redmond, 27, of Caledon Street, East Wall, Dublin and Alan Harte, 40, of Island Quay Flats, East Wall, Dublin. The three got jail sentences of 25 years, 15 years and 30 years respectively.
Nevertheless, Fr O’Reilly believes different individuals who performed a task in Mr Lunney’s abduction have escaped justice. He mentioned: ‘There have been quite a lot of spotters alongside the route between Kevin Lunney’s residence and the place the place he was tortured and left on the aspect of the street.
‘I really feel that these spotters needs to be dropped at justice… the spotters are nonetheless there hanging round. I would really like in the event that they have been dropped at justice.’
It’s believed ‘thousands and thousands’ was spent financing a long-running marketing campaign of intimidation in opposition to those that changed Mr Quinn at his former enterprise empire. This cash path is on the coronary heart of investigations on each side of the border by An Garda Síochána and the PSNI in Northern Eire.
A senior safety supply mentioned: ‘There are ongoing investigations by gardaí and the PSNI, and substantial sources have been assigned to it. They’re trying into the function of the paymaster and the investigations will probably be ongoing for a while.’
In the meantime, in accordance with native sources, any hopes that Mr Quinn might have had that the documentary sequence would assist to bestow upon him a legacy as one of many nation’s most profitable self-made males, has backfired.
One neighbour dwelling close to the palatial lakeside residence Mr Quinn shares along with his spouse, which featured prominently within the programme, mentioned: ‘Help for Quinn was dying earlier than this programme ever went out. He thought this programme would assist him get well all of that public help he misplaced. However the reality is he can be very hard-pressed to get folks to go to an enormous public protest like earlier than.’