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Guilty Plea Boxer admits assault of Kevin Lunney and another Quinn executive at petrol station

The victims of the attack were Kevin Lunney, chief operating officer of the company formerly known as QIH, and its chief financial officer Dara O’Reilly.

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Bernard McGovern

Bernard McGovern

Bernard McGovern

AN amateur boxer has admitted assaulting two senior QIH executives just days after his father lost his job in the company.

Fermanagh man Bernard McGovern (24) appeared in court this morning where he pleaded guilty to the assaults outside a Cavan filling station in February 2019.

The victims of the attack were Kevin Lunney, chief operating officer of the company formerly known as QIH, and its chief financial officer Dara O’Reilly.

Mr Lunney was abducted outside his home and badly assaulted in a separate and unrelated incident seven months later, in which McGovern had no involvement.

The two victims are senior executives at Mannok, previously known as Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) and once owned by businessman Sean Quinn.

This morning Bernard McGovern, of Springtown Road in Kinawley, Fermanagh, was arraigned before Cavan Circuit Court in relation to two counts of assault causing harm.

The incidents occurred at the Apple Green filling station at Rakeelan, Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, on February 1, 2019, while the two executives were having lunch.

He pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Lunney who suffered a broken nose as a result of being struck in the face.

McGovern pleaded not guilty to carrying out the same offence to Mr O’Reilly, who had a cup of hot water thrown in his face.

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Kevin Lunney. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Kevin Lunney. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Kevin Lunney. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

However, he admitted to a lesser charge of assault at the same location on the same date.

Prosecution counsel Monica Lawlor BL, for the State, said that this plea was being accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The maximum jail term he now faces for assault causing harm, under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person act, is five years imprisonment.

Assault under Section 2 of the same act carries a maximum jail term of six months.

Judge John Aylmer remanded him on continuing bail to appear before court again next Friday, March 19, for sentencing.

McGovern’s father had lost his job as a truck driver within the company two days earlier which was the motive for the assaults.

The accused was arrested in Fermanagh in September 2019 on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in relation to the case.

Bernard McGovern was later remanded in custody at Castlerea Prison for several months, prompting a Sinn Fein councillor in Fermanagh to write to the Justice Minister.

The party later distanced itself from the actions of councillor Chris McCaffrey about the accused’s detention.

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