Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, Charlie Flanagan, and Chief Constable Simon Byrne

Gardaí investigating Lunney attack has enough resources - Harris

Thomas Lyons

At Slieve Russell Hotel


The investigation into the “despicable” attack on Kevin Lunney has all resources it needs, the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.
Mr Drew Harris made the comment when explaining that 20 probationer gardaí will be deployed in Cavan and Monaghan at the end of November, and the Armed Support Unit (ASU) is being opened on Monday.

The Garda Commissioner was not asked if the probationer gardaí in November would have been allocated as a matter of course. The ASU stationed in Cavan Town's Farnham Road has been in the pipeline for months.
The garda commissioner was speaking at the Annual Cross Border Conference on Organised Crime at the Slieve Russell Hotel today. Also attending the high profile meenting are Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan, the North's Permanent Secretary of the Department of Justice, Peter May, and PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne.

However the commissioner said: “We are supplementing local uniform resource, but also then as I said an investigation is ongoing. It is not short of resources – whatever resources are needed, are being applied to that and it is being supported by national units and that will continue.”

Chief Constable Simon Byrne also said that 190 PSNI officers are being deployed in the northern side of the Border “to raise our levels of visibility and reassurance”.

Asked if there is an imbalance given in the North, they are getting 190 officers and gardaí are getting "20 rookies", Mr Harris replied: "In the last two years, the number of gardaí assigned to the border has increased by 150, and I am now adding further resouces and ASU."

In relation to the Lunney attack, Mr Byrne meanwhile claimed this “escalation came out of nowhere”.

When it was put to him that there hasn't been any arrests from over 70 attacks since the trouble began in the former Quinn businesses. 

“These incidents have been difficult to investigate, they have often been in isolated areas and have been criminal damage,” he said.

“Individuals have been previously arrested and reported Director of Public Porsecutions, unfortunately without subsequent judicial outcome, but these matters have ben taken seriously.”

He said that a review on the previous attacks “as a sound investigative process”.

Asked about the background of those suspected to be involved and if they have paramilitary pasts, Drew Harris added that there had been a lot of speculation. “I don't want to add to that speculation about who these individuals are - other than to say they are vicious individuals given the nature of the attack that was conducted, and they had some degree of organisation. I don't want to in effect, big them up.”

He further stated that both An Garda Siochana and the PSNI were determined to bring those behind Mr Lunney's abduction and beating to justice.

“They will hopefully stand and face charges in respect of this very serious and despicable attack, and that is where I want to focus my efforts," said Mr Harris.