Northern Ireland

Derrylin: Crane firm pulls out after 'threats'

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Media captionA crane hire company which had been working at a wind farm near Derrylin, County Fermanagh, has pulled out after receiving threats.

A crane hire company which had been working at a wind farm near Derrylin, County Fermanagh, has pulled out after receiving threats.

East Cork Crane Hire was working as a contractor at the Slieve Rushen wind farm.

The wind farm was part of Séan Quinn's business empire but is now owned by investment fund Platina Partners.

Aidan Kelleher, from East Cork Crane Hire, told the BBC he was not prepared to put his workers in danger.

On Tuesday, a placard was erected in Derrylin threatening executives who now run one part of the former Quinn group.

Image caption There has been a visible security presence on the road leading to the wind farm

Police condemned the threats.

"This is part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation directed at a local company and we are keen to speak to anyone who noticed anything suspicious in and around the area on Monday night or Tuesday morning," Det Insp Brian Foster said.

"This is a deplorable act of intimidation against members of the local business community and we would appeal to anyone who observed this sign being erected."


Analysis by BBC Reporter in Fermanagh and Tyrone Julian Fowler

"This was aimed at a firm working at the Slieve Rushen wind farm.

"A crane hire company had brought equipment onto the site yesterday to carry out essential maintenance to some turbines, but last night a threat was made that the equipment would be set on fire if it was not removed from the mountain.

"Aidan Kelleher the managing director of East Cork Crane Hire, has told the BBC that he was not prepared to put his workers in danger.

"This afternoon those cranes left Derrylin in a convoy.

"Now other workers have been threatened too.

"Last month, bullets and a warning letter were sent to a Danish-owned energy company that had been working at the site.

"Part of this dispute is about access rights and land ownership.

"The wind farm is now owned by an energy investment fund and I was up there yesterday, spectacular views across Fermanagh's lakes, but there is also a high level of security there too."


Mr Quinn, a former billionaire businessman from County Fermanagh, lost control of his manufacturing businesses in 2011 following a disastrous bet on shares in Anglo Irish Bank.

The consortium of banks and other lenders that took over the group gradually sold off its various divisions.

There has been a long series of sabotage and vandalism on businesses which were once owned by Mr Quinn.

These include incidents where vehicles and machinery were set on fire, power lines cut down and other arson and vandalism attacks causing hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage.

In April 2014, one of Northern Ireland's biggest construction firms pulled out of plans to buy a former Quinn group business after a series of death threats and attacks on property.

The Lagan Group had planned to buy the former Quinn roof tiles business.

Mr Quinn has recently said that he and his family "condemned and will continue to condemn all negative activity" in the area.

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