Investigation | 

Gardaí search home of prominent Seán Quinn supporter over alleged intimidation campaign

The search took place at the home of a long-standing Quinn supporter, who was a key figure in a local push to restore the ex billionaire to the businesses he lost

Businessman Seán Quinn

Maeve SheehanSunday Independent

​The home of a prominent supporter of former billionaire Seán Quinn has been searched by gardaí investigating attacks on his former businesses and an alleged campaign of intimidation.

The property was searched a fortnight ago by gardaí from the Cavan Monaghan Garda Division. The same team searched Mr Quinn’s home in Ballyconnell last April, and in 2021 searched the HQ of the family gambling business QuinnBet.

The latest search took place at the home of a long-standing Quinn supporter, who was a key figure in a local push to restore the former billionaire to the businesses he lost in 2011.

Detectives have been trawling through electronic files, including text messages, emails and other communications dating back more than a decade.

The attacks on the former Quinn companies began soon after Seán Quinn was ousted from the group in 2011. A local consortium — which included his old management team, backed by US hedge funds — bought back the businesses in 2014. Mr Quinn joined the new group as a €500,000-a-year consultant — but fell out with the new regime and left.

The attacks over the years have included arson, criminal damage, physical assault and a targeted campaign against five directors of Mannok (the new name for the Quinn group).​

The campaign culminated in 2019 with the abduction and torture of Mannok chief operating officer Kevin Lunney — for which three men were jailed. The five Mannok directors — Kevin Lunney, his brother Tony, Liam McCaffrey, Dara O’Reilly and John McCartin — continue to receive garda protection.

The parallel inquiry into the campaign of intimidation against the Mannok directors is investigating allegations made against the company and its directors by Seán Quinn.

Some of Mr Quinn’s supporters have filed a 300-page affidavit as part of a High Court action claiming a stake in the businesses in Northern Ireland.

Detectives searched Mr Quinn’s home in Ballyconnell last April. Afterwards he told the BBC he didn’t know why his house was searched.

“They said it was coercion, deception, harassment — stuff like that,” he told the broadcaster, but they “didn’t mention anything about criminality”.

His solicitor described the garda search as “a bolt out of the blue”.

In the RTÉ documentary Quinn Country, broadcast last November, Mr Quinn claimed he had nothing to do with the campaign of intimidation and attacks, blaming the “criminal” and “heavy-handed” takeover of his businesses for raising tensions.

“Of course things were going to happen and did happen. Was I part of it? Absolutely not. Was it done because of my anger? Was it done because I was telling the truth about what the position was? Maybe,” he said.

An Garda Síochána declined to comment on the specific search, but in a statement said: “Gardaí carrying out an ongoing investigation into alleged criminal activity in Cavan and the wider Border region continue to carry out searches and interview witnesses.

“As this is an ongoing criminal investigation, An Garda Síochána will not be making any further comment.”

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