A factory owned by one of Quinn Industrial Holdings’ senior managers has been targeted in a suspected arson attack prompting fears that a campaign of intimidation which blighted the Border area over two years ago has resumed.

The fire at Eco Tyre Tread Solutions in Belturbet, County Cavan last Friday night caused extensive damage to the inside of the factory.

The incident occurred hours after staff at Quinn Industrial Holdings in Derrylin and Ballyconnell received a letter from the company’s chairman Adrian Barden hitting out at “false allegations and intimidation”, allegedly including “physical intimidation” against people linked to QIH.

In a statement to The Impartial Reporter, a spokesman said the company was grateful that “no one was hurt or killed as result of this attack.”

“QIH is appalled that a factory owned by one of our senior managers was the subject of an arson attack several hours after an update to staff seeking an end to intimidation. QIH is grateful for the speed of response by the emergency services and cannot comment further as we understand the matter is now being investigated by Gardai,” he said.

In Mr. Barden’s letter, which has been seen by this newspaper, employees are told that the company is preparing legal action against people purporting to be supporters of the company’s former owner Seán Quinn who have made critical comments about the company and its executives online.

Mr. Quinn, who originally founded the business, has publicly condemned attacks against QIH personnel and property in the past.

The letter to all QIH staff by Mr. Barden, written on behalf of the board and the US hedge funds that control the business, was in response to a public meeting last month in Cavan in support of Mr. Quinn, who lost control of the multi-billion euro group in 2012.

“This meeting comes on the heels of an onslaught of negative messaging and false information posted online, as well as physical intimidation against officers, directors and staff of QIH

and their families,” wrote Mr. Barden.

Mr. Quinn rejoined as a consultant in 2015 when US funds backed a local buyout of old Quinn Group assets, but left again in 2016 after a dispute with the new owners.

At the meeting last month, an emotional Mr. Quinn criticised the running of the business and claimed it needs “major capital investment” and reiterated that he wants to buy it back.

“So it is a mess. Could I sort it out? Well let’s put it this way, I don’t think there’s anybody [else] that would be able to sort it out better,” he said.

In his letter, Mr. Barden criticised a “resurgence of negativity and misinformation” about QIH and promised “robust” action against anonymous critics, “commencing with legal action against those propagating misinformation online.”

“The external activity propagated is a distraction and an enormous misjudgement that only serves to

weaken the agenda of those involved in such activities, putting jobs and the economic vitality of the

community at risk.

“The resurgence of negativity and misinformation will not distract our focus of continuing to be strong stewards of the business, and we will make every effort to steer this company on a continued successful path. A small group will not detract us from this objective.”

In 2016 there was widespread concern following several sinister incidents along the Fermanagh/Cavan Border, including death threats, intimidation, sabotage , a worker being threatened with a gun and a pig’s head left at the doorstep of a company executive.