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life and crimes Who was ‘Dublin Jimmy’, the man who orchestrated Kevin Lunney's abduction?

Cyril McGuinness, aka 'Dublin Jimmy', arranged the logistics and directed gang who attacked Kevin Lunney

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International gangster Cyril McGuinness, 'Dublin Jimmy', had been on the radar of police in 11 jurisdictions as a serious criminal with terrorist links over the past two decades

International gangster Cyril McGuinness, 'Dublin Jimmy', had been on the radar of police in 11 jurisdictions as a serious criminal with terrorist links over the past two decades

International gangster Cyril McGuinness, 'Dublin Jimmy', had been on the radar of police in 11 jurisdictions as a serious criminal with terrorist links over the past two decades

Dublin Jimmy, as gangster Cyril McGuinness was known, was the criminal mastermind who orchestrated the abduction of Kevin Lunney on the orders of the ‘Paymaster’.

McGuinness arranged the logistics and directed the gang who abducted and tortured the businessman in a savage attack in September 2019.

The gangster died of a heart attack in the UK at the age of 54 during a police raid of his safe house exactly two years ago today – just as the net was “closing in” on his involvement in ordering the abduction of Mr Lunney.

“His death was very untimely, from the investigation’s point of view. We wanted him charged over being the puppet master who directed operations in the barbaric attack on Kevin Lunney,” according to a well-placed security source.

“Except for his death, there is a firm belief he would have been criminally charged. He was a scourge to the end – even in death Dublin Jimmy was pulling a fast one, by evading justice.”

While he was acting on the orders of the ‘Paymaster’, McGuinness was a seasoned criminal in his own right, with more than 50 criminal convictions to his name.

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He was considered a highly organised gang boss and smuggler long before he emerged as the chief suspect for organising the attack on Mr Lunney.

He was also the chief suspect in more than 60 arson attacks since 2011 targeting Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), including one attack on the home of former Quinn executive Paul O’Brien in 2011.

He was, sources say, the criminal hired by the ‘Paymaster’ several years ago to be the “criminal leader on the ground” in dozens of attacks targeting the company and staff at the business formally owned by Sean Quinn.

During the police raid of his Derbyshire safe house in November 2019, where he dropped dead of a heart attack as police officers stood agape, detectives seized numerous electronic devices he owned, including laptops and phones.

Gardaí, in collaboration with UK police, have since been trying to link the ‘Paymaster’ to Dublin Jimmy through electronic communications. The garda investigation into the ‘Paymaster’ and his alleged involvement in ordering the barbaric attack on Kevin Lunney, as well as numerous other attacks on businesspeople linked to QIH, remain ongoing, sources stress.

“Put it this way, it would have been a lot more beneficial to have Dublin Jimmy alive as gardaí attempt to build its case against the ‘Paymaster’,” a senior source said.

“There were brewing tensions over money owed by this individual to Dublin Jimmy for a series of attacks carried out at the ‘Paymaster’’s behest. It’s impossible to know what might have happened if Dublin Jimmy had lived. But his sudden death was a less than ideal outcome for the investigation, that’s for sure.”

At the same time that McGuinness dropped dead of a heart attack in England, there were 16 other raids in counties Cavan, Longford, Dublin, the North and England in an unprecedented “day of action” against the gang behind the abduction and torture.

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McGuinness’s criminal pedigree ensured he was far more than just a “lackey” for the ‘Paymaster’. His 50 convictions display his wide-ranging involvement in criminality both in Ireland and overseas.

In addition, he was alleged to be an MI5 agent for British intelligence and had close links to the Continuity IRA, well-placed sources say. He was also associated with gangland criminals linked to the Hutch crime gang, it is understood.

Among Dublin Jimmy’s most serious run-ins with the law resulted in him being extradited to Belgium in 2011, where he was sentenced to seven years for stealing trucks and machinery. He fled the country before the sentence was handed down by the court in Bruges. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued at the time identified him as an organised crime figure.

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Cyril McGuinness (53) – from Teemore Road, Derrylin, Co Fermanagh – is the mastermind of the brutal abduction and torture of QIH businessman Kevin Lunney

Cyril McGuinness (53) – from Teemore Road, Derrylin, Co Fermanagh – is the mastermind of the brutal abduction and torture of QIH businessman Kevin Lunney

Cyril McGuinness (53) – from Teemore Road, Derrylin, Co Fermanagh – is the mastermind of the brutal abduction and torture of QIH businessman Kevin Lunney

McGuinness also previously ran a gang responsible for a series of robberies from ATMs around the country a number of years ago.

In 2009, he was given a suspended sentence in the North after being convicted of illegally transporting waste from Ireland to Scotland. He admitted 22 charges relating to the illegal transport of waste from one country to another. The waste was taken to legitimate landfill sites in Scotland and McGuinness paid the due levies – it was only the transportation without a licence that was illegal.

He was said to have profited around £2.5million by the time he was stopped. Less than £189,000 of that sum was recovered through a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In 1986, when he was in his 20s, he was banned from driving for 25 years and jailed for six months after refusing to stop for gardaí as they chased his lorry for a prolonged period through north Co Dublin two years earlier.

When he was convicted aged 22, McGuinness was led from Balbriggan Courthouse handcuffed to a garda and when he passed a garda sergeant who gave evidence against him, he shouted “bastard” at him and then “violently spat” in his face.

While he was linked to the IRA, sources say his involvement with paramilitaries was always “about cash, not political beliefs. Money was his sole motivation”.

Gardaí believe the Co Fermanagh criminal, who was originally from Swords in Dublin, was seen as the “ideal criminal” by the ‘Paymaster’ to wage a series of attacks and intimidation against QIH.

It is understood McGuinness was behind an incident in 2016 when a Cork crane hire company stopped working at a wind farm formerly owned by QIH after it was threatened that its vehicles would be burnt.

Bullets were also left outside the offices of the Danish company managing the wind farm and boulders blocked approach roads up to the site.

QIH, which bought up Mr Quinn’s cement plant, glass company and other businesses, has also suffered extensive intimidation.

Former owner Seán Quinn has strongly condemned acts of intimidation against the new owners and managers.

“The ‘Paymaster’ was not one to get his hands dirty, said a senior source.

"But what he correctly identified in Dublin Jimmy was an out-and-out criminal who was shrewd but also able to get the job done, for the right price.

"The abduction and barbaric nature of the assault on Kevin Lunney was a step too far though – it brought unprecedented heat on Dublin Jimmy and the men who carried out the attack.

"Unfortunately, Dublin Jimmy will bring secrets to the grave.”

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