The father of murdered truck driver Paul Quinn has insisted he is more hopeful than ever that his son's killers will be caught.
Stephen Quinn made a heartfelt plea for help yesterday outside Dundalk's courthouse where an inquest into his son's death was opened and adjourned. He appealed to anyone "with the smallest piece of information" about the brutal killing to come forward.
The 21-year-old from south Armagh was lured to an isolated County Monaghan barn last October and savagely battered to death.
Within 24 hours of the murder, gardai and the PSNI were convinced that the killers had former Provisional IRA connections. The independent International Monitoring Commission (IMC) has since expressed the view that the thugs involved were either former Provisionals or associates.
A senior IRA figure was later sent to the Border to carry out an investigation into their involvement. Cross-border inquiries are continuing into the murder but little progress has been achieved so far. However, officers on both sides are hopeful of a breakthrough in their painstaking inquiries.
And Mr Quinn said yesterday: "I'm very, very hopeful at this minute that some of them will be brought to justice. Hopefully them all, if possible. I'm getting more hope as the thing goes along, to be honest.''
Louth County Coroner Ronan Maguire told the court that the inquest was opened only to issue a death certificate.
The whole country had been shocked by the brutality of the murder, he said, expressing his condolences to the Quinn family. Garda Inspector Leo McGinn made an application for the inquest to be adjourned, because they were hoping to bring criminal proceedings.
Afterwards, Mr Quinn said both he and his wife, Breige, would never fully come to terms with the killing of their son.
"We feel the same, we feel at an awful loss and always will feel that way until the day we die I suppose,'' he said.
"There's a part of us gone and that's it. A big part.''
A clearly emotional Mr Quinn, who was accompanied by friends, pleaded for anyone that could help the ongoing inquiry to get in contact with the authorities.
"Anyone out there that has any wee bit of information whatsoever that would be helpful to the guards, just go in and give it,'' he said.
"People want to see whoever it was brought to justice and this sort of thing brought to an end, these sort of beatings and intimidation brought to an end."
Dr Michael Curtis, deputy state pathologist, said he had compiled an 18-page report into his autopsy, but the coroner said it was inappropriate at this time to go into it in detail. The pathologist said Mr Quinn, from Cullyhanna, south Armagh, died from multiple injuries, due to blunt force trauma.