Three men have been found guilty of abducting and torturing businessman Kevin Lunney in September 2019, while a fourth man has been found not guilty.

Luke O'Reilly, 68, with an address at Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy in Co Cavan was acquitted by the Special Criminal Court of falsely imprisoning and intentionally causing harm to Mr Lunney.

The court found Alan O'Brien, 40, of Shelmalier Road in East Wall in Dublin 3, and Darren Redmond, 27, from Caledon Road in East Wall in Dublin, guilty of both counts.

The court also convicted another 40-year-old man on both counts, as it found the various pieces of evidence against the man showed he was heavily involved in the crime.

He can only be known as YZ because of other legal proceedings. All four men had denied the charges.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the court was satisfied YZ was the driver of the black Audi that arrived to remove Mr Lunney from his home on 17 September 2019 and that he was responsible for inflicting most of Mr Lunney's serious injuries.

Luke O'Reilly (blue jumper) leaves court

The attack on Mr Lunney took place in a trailer in a yard owned by Mr O'Reilly. There was also evidence that Mr O'Reilly bought a bottle of bleach used by the attackers.

However, the court found there was reasonable doubt about whether he knew about the abduction and assault.

The guilty men were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 22 November.

In a statement after the verdicts, Mr Lunney thanked all those involved in the investigation and trial.

The 51-year-old was an executive at Quinn Industrial Holdings, when on 17 September 2019, he was bundled into the boot of a car and driven to a horse trailer.

His leg was broken, he was doused in bleach and had the letters QIH carved into his chest.

Mr Lunney's attackers also told him repeatedly to resign as a director of the company before dumping him on a roadside in Co Cavan.

He described his ordeal in his evidence to the court earlier this year.

The prosecution alleged the attack was coordinated by a convicted criminal called Cyril McGuinness, or Dublin Jimmy, who died in November 2019.

Cyril McGuinness, or Dublin Jimmy, died in November 2019

Judge praises Lunney as 'impressive witness'

Mr Justice Hunt began reading the court's decision just after 10.30am.

He read the court's review of the evidence heard at the 40-day trial, before outlining its verdicts against each of the four accused.

Mr Justice Hunt described Mr Lunney as a "most impressive and careful witness" and said the court fully accepted the account provided by him.

His recollection had helped the garda investigation and Mr Lunney’s description of the various places where he was beaten and mutilated was borne out by the investigation.

The judge said the prosecution in the case had relied on circumstantial evidence.

This kind of evidence must be approached with care, he said, but can be very strong when several strands are considered together.

Mr Justice Hunt said the court was satisfied Mr Lunney was falsely imprisoned and intentionally seriously harmed. The medical evidence about his injuries was "self-explanatory", he said.

Lawyers for each of the defendants had told the court the case against them had not been proved and had asked the court to direct their acquittal due to a lack of evidence or to find them not guilty.

The prosecution had said Mr Lunney was subjected to an "ordeal of callous brutality and gratuitous violence designed to intimidate him and leave him with injuries he would never forget".

PSNI officers at the scene of the abduction in 2019

Mr Justice Hunt said the court accepted that McGuinness was the organiser or supervisor of the commission of these crimes. He said McGuinness intersected repeatedly with the evidence.

It was almost certain that McGuinness did not act alone, he said. There may well have been others beyond the men in court. Given the number of vehicles involved, he said, it was almost certain there were other drivers and spotters involved.

Mr Justice Hunt outlined the contacts between the three convicted men who were all linked to a van used in the attack.

He said YZ was heavily involved in the crime. He said he was the driver of the black Audi used to abduct Mr Lunney and was responsible for inflicting most of his injuries.

Mr Justice Hunt said there was a reasonable doubt about Mr O'Reilly’s knowledge of the crimes and in that case the court had to acquit him.

During the trial, prosecuting counsel Seán Guerin said the prosecution was not concerned with why Mr Lunney was assaulted.

He said there was evidence it related to his position with QIH and ongoing litigation and it appeared the men were acting on behalf of others.

Lunney thanks community for well wishes

In a statement this evening, Mr Lunney thanked the gardaí, PSNI, DPP and the Justices of the Special Criminal Court "for their diligence, time and effort in bringing the investigation and trial to this point".

He offered his thanks to those "who supported my family at the time of and since the attack, most especially my colleagues at Mannok, the local community and the countless friends and strangers for their prayers and well wishes".

Mr Lunney said: "I want to also express my sincere gratitude to the wider community for their exceptional level of assistance to the authorities throughout the investigation."

The Minister for Justice said that everything will be done to ensure Mr Lunney and his family are protected and that any threats to communities in the future will be dealt with in the most severe way.

Minister Helen McEntee said she cannot comment in detail on the outcome of the case, but stressed that the safety of Mr Lunney his family and the communities along the border is of the utmost importance.

She also said the Special Criminal Court is there to ensure that justice is served when in some instances normal routes cannot be gone through, and without commenting on this particular case, she said: "I fully support the work of the Special Criminal Court and its something we need to see continue."

Gardaí have appealed to the public to continue to assist them in ongoing investigations into the abduction and assault of Mr Lunney.

Chief Supt Alan McGovern speaks to reporters outside court

Reacting to today's verdicts, Chief Supt Alan McGovern said there were a number of ongoing investigations.

Outside court, he said he wanted to "acknowledge the verdict from the court today, I want to thank the investigation team for their diligence, hard work throughout the process of this investigation".

He also said he wished to "highlight the resilience and bravery of Mr Lunney and his family throughout this trial".

Chief Supt McGovern also acknowledged the "cooperation of our colleagues in the PSNI and most importantly members of the investigation team and members of the community in the Cavan area and members of the public who came forward and assisted us throughout this investigation".

"There are a number of ongoing investigations and I would appeal to the public to continue to support us with these investigations and our ongoing inquiries," he said.