Priest who condemned ‘paymaster’ behind Kevin Lunney abduction says Sean Quinn gave him ‘rollicking’

Days after Quinn’s wife Patricia labelled Fr O’Reilly a ‘pure back-stabber’, the priest unapologetically repeats his call for ‘paymaster to be brought to justice’

Sean Quinn claims he was not behind campaign of intimidation

Fr Oliver O’Reilly with our reporter Patrick O’Connell© Gary Ashe

Fr Oliver O’Reilly spoke out in church© Gary Ashe

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Former Billionaire Sean Quinn called to the home of the parish priest who condemned the ‘paymaster’ behind the abduction of Kevin Lunney and gave ‘him a rollicking lasting half an hour’.

Today, just days after Quinn’s wife Patricia labelled Fr Oliver O’Reilly, who gave the eulogy, a ‘pure back-stabber’ in the RTE documentary ‘Quinn Country’, the priest unapologetically repeats his call in the Sunday World for ‘the paymaster to be brought to justice’.

Sean Quinn claims he was not behind campaign of intimidation

“The paymaster still needs to be brought to justice. I certainly do believe that,” said Fr O’Reilly.

“There is still a lot of tension in this community.“

“And I’m aware, in addition to Cyril McGuinness (aka Dublin Jimmy) and the three guys who were convicted in connection with the kidnapping, there was about a dozen spotters located between Kevin and his house and the place in Drumbrade where the assault took place.

“I would like to see them all brought to justice, because if they are not held to account, what’s to stop something like this from happening again.”

In his first interview since the broadcast of the three-part documentary earlier this week, Fr O’Reilly reveals:

His hurt and anger at being denounced as a ‘back-stabber’ by Quinn’s wife Patricia;

The extraordinary interaction he had with Sean Quinn after his eulogy denouncing the ‘barbaric and horrific’ assault on Kevin Lunney, in which he condemned the ‘paymaster’;

How he was warned by a concerned party after he spoke out in church that ‘his car would probably be burnt out next’;

And why he believes Republican gangster ‘Dublin Jimmy’ was being paid to co-ordinate the attacks on the businesses taken away from Quinn and the people who were blamed for it.

“I’m not (a backstabber), said Fr O’Reilly, who retired from his position as parish priest in Ballyconnell earlier this year.

“I found those comments hurtful and I was a little bit annoyed by what Patricia said on the programme.

“But obviously, Patricia, for whatever reasons, is also hurting and she’s angry to see her husband lose all his riches and his businesses.

“So, I suppose, look it, I’m a bit of a scapegoat. And that’s fine.”

Fr Oliver O’Reilly with our reporter Patrick O’Connell© Gary Ashe

Speaking of his relationship with the Quinns, Fr O’Reilly said he had visited their family home in Ballyconnell once or twice a year for three or four years after being appointed as parish priest.

“I didn’t like what he was saying about the directors,” recalled Fr O’Reilly of his visits to the house when Sean Quinn was present.

“I would have gotten to know all the directors and I found them to be quite honourable people.

“And he was quite critical of them in saying they had stolen his companies, that they were dishonourable and that they were liars – compulsive liars – and they weren’t to be trusted. That was never my experience of them.”

Speaking of his eulogy, Fr O’Reilly – who never identified any individual as the ‘paymaster’ – said he made the decision to speak out as he felt the September 2019 abduction and torture of Mr Lunney had ‘crossed the Rubicon’ in the ongoing intimidation campaign.

“I would have been in this area, in three different parishes, for over 50 years,” he said. “I knew all the people involved.

“There had been intimidation, ongoing intimidation, and I knew who some of the perpetrators were and I knew the victims.

“It was low-level for a long time. It was on property. But then Kevin Lunney was abducted and assaulted and left on the side of the road and he was a very lucky man to survive.

“For me, the Rubicon was crossed and it was obvious that lives were going to be lost unless something was said.”

Discussing those behind the attacks, Fr O’Reilly said he is no doubt that Cyril McGuinness was funded and directed in co-ordinating the attacks.

Smuggler McGuinness collapsed and died, aged 55, during a police raid on a safe house where he was staying in Buxton, Derbyshire in November of 2019.

“I had seen him in Ballyconnell many times – this guy Dublin Jimmy or Cyril McGuinness,” Fr O’Reilly said.

“And I knew he was central to the whole play in the area. He was a criminal for hire.A few local people asked me after the eulogy if he was the paymaster.And I said ‘no, I didn’t believe that’

“He was only the paymaster’s lieutenant. Dublin Jimmy didn’t pay people to do deeds. He was the one who got paid.

“He intimidated people.When he went into pubs, he smoked and no-one dared stop him. And a couple of occasions, he rifled the till and the owners were too afraid to do anything about.”


Asked if he had someone in mind when he called out the ‘paymaster’, Fr. O’Reilly said: “I did.”

Asked if he was now willing to say who this man is, he said: “I’m not. I spoke in general terms. I have never identified anyone.”

Ten days after giving the eulogy, Fr O’Reilly said Quinn called to the parochial house and made his feelings on the matter clear.

Fr Oliver O’Reilly spoke out in church© Gary Ashe

Quinn has repeatedly stated in the years since that he had ‘no hand, act or part’ in the abduction of Mr Lunney and has condemned the attacks and intimidation.

“I invited him in and sat him down,” Fr O’Reilly recalls.

“And for most of half an hour he gave me a rollicking. He said he was very unhappy with my homily and that he felt that I was referring to him.

“I just listened to him because he was very angry and irate. I said I hadn’t named or identified anybody, but that didn’t deter him.

“He gave me a rollicking and it lasted the best part of 30 minutes. He wasn’t shouting but his voice was raised.

“When he was finished, he got up and I walked him to the door and I said goodbye. That was the last time he ever spoke to me.

Asked if he spoke with Kevin Lunney after the kidnapping, said: “I’ve spoken with Kevin many times. I think he’s an incredibly good man.

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