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Gardaí hunt 'paymaster' as further arrests loom in Kevin Lunney abduction case

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Kevin Lunney. Photo: BBC Spotlight/BBC/PA

Kevin Lunney. Photo: BBC Spotlight/BBC/PA

Kevin Lunney. Photo: BBC Spotlight/BBC/PA

More arrests are expected as gardaí continue to close in on the so-called "paymaster" behind the savage abduction and torture of QIH director Kevin Lunney.

Senior gardaí have been holding regular "investigation strategy" conferences as their investigation into events surrounding the horrific crime continues.

"These high-level strategy meetings are generally being held in Cavan garda station and have been attended by senior officers including chief superintendents and heads of various specialist national garda units," a senior source told Independent.ie.

"This is still a massive investigation with lots of new evidence coming in. The purpose of the case conferences has been to analyse all the material that has been obtained with a view to determine what is the best way to bring the investigation forward.

"Throughout the summer there were a number of these meetings and this will continue with more arrests expected in this case once everything is lined up," the source added.

Mr Lunney, a father-of-six, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh on the evening of September 17 last year.

The businessman's leg was broken, he was doused in bleach and the letters QIH were carved into his chest during the two-and-a-half-hour ordeal before he was dumped on a roadside in Co Cavan.

Four suspects have already been charged with falsely imprisoning and assaulting the Quinn Industrial Holdings director almost a year ago but gardaí say their investigations are "far from over".

Senior sources say officers are determined to obtain enough evidence to secure criminal charges against the so-called "paymaster" who orchestrated the savage abduction and allegedly controlled a network of front companies and bank accounts used to launder monies paid to gang boss Cyril "Dublin Jimmy" McGuinness.

Notorious criminal McGuinness (54) died of a heart attack last November in Derbyshire, England, when police raided a safe-house that he was hiding in as part of a major arrest operation involving three police forces into the horrific Lunney case.

Yesterday in the High Court, one of the charged men - Alan O'Brien (39) of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin - brought a challenge against the Special Criminal Court's jurisdiction to hear his trial.

He claims the Director of Public Prosecution's decision he should not be tried before a jury represents a significant curtailment of his constitutional rights.

Mr O’Brien and three others are accused of falsely imprisoning and causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17 last year.

He has brought a judicial review action aimed at preventing his trial before the Special Criminal Court, due to commence next January, from taking place.

Mr O’Brien is the second of the four accused men to challenge the SCC’s jurisdiction to hear the trial.

Last month, the High Court granted permission to another man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – to bring an action that raises similar grounds.

In July, Mr O’Brien failed in an application at the Special Criminal Court to have the charges against him dismissed.

Both he and the man who cannot be named for legal reasons have been remanded in custody awaiting trial.

The two other defendants in the case are Luke O’Reilly (66), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan, and Darren Redmond (25), from Caledon Road, East Wall.

They were granted bail by the High Court in April despite garda objections.

Neither Mr O’Reilly nor Mr Redmond has challenged the Special Criminal Court’s jurisdiction.

Irish Independent