Garda Chief: Lunney case shows rule of law is being upheld in border regions

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By Aine McMahon

The Garda Commissioner has said the fact four men have been charged over the kidnap and torture of businessman Kevin Lunney shows that the rule of law is being upheld in the border region.

The men, who were brought before Virginia District Court in Co Cavan on Tuesday, all face charges of assault causing harm and false imprisonment.

In September, Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Mr Lunney, 50, was abducted outside his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, and taken to a horsebox across the border, where he was savagely beaten.

His attackers broke his leg, sliced his fingernails and face with a Stanley knife, carved QIH on his chest, and doused the father of six in bleach.

The four men have been remanded into custody to Castlerea Prison and will appear again at Virginia District Court next Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Policing Authority in Dublin on Wednesday, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris defended the level of policing and resources in the border region.

"I would say the charging of the four men and other matters has shown our overall commitment to deliver the rule of law in the border region," he said.

He said An Garda Siochana in the Republic of Ireland and the PSNI in Northern Ireland have a strong working relationship.

IMAGE: Kevin Lunney reading a well wisher's card during an interview with BBC Spotlight relating to the attack

There were concerns a no-deal Brexit would seriously disrupt North-South police co-operation but this has been averted.

"In terms of reassurance I want to give to people living in the border area, I think we have shown that in terms of the resources and the number of Gardai graduating this Friday who will be appointed to northern regions," he said.

Mr Harris said an armed support unit to police the border region in Cavan-Monaghan is to be supplemented by a permanent unit once they get the accommodation for it.

Mr Harris said the Schengen Information System (SIS) will be a significant help to advance police investigations in the Republic of Ireland.

The SIS is the most widely used and largest information-sharing system for security and border management in Europe.

"It will also help too in relation to the really entrenched difficult organised crime which is not just a cross-border or island of Ireland issue, but a European issue and SIS will help us with law enforcement here," he said.

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