Fuel smugglers 'behind the murder of young truck driver'
Published 27/12/2011 | 05:00
FUEL launderers are believed by the authorities on both sides of the Border to have been responsible for a gruesome murder in a disused shed more than four years ago.
The killers were closely aligned to the Provisional IRA and attacked Paul Quinn because he had fallen foul of an associate of one of the leading terrorists, who were overseeing the laundering operation.
Gardai said the tightly-knit group involved in the laundering and oil smuggling were not prepared to tolerate anyone who did not support their activities.
Details of the highly lucrative trade in fuel laundering were revealed yesterday in the Irish Independent when we reported that the gangs have built up a network of 120 filling stations across the State in an effort to boost their multi-million euro empire.
The 21-year-old truck driver died in hospital two hours after he had been subjected to a barrage of blows from iron bars and cudgels by a gang of up to 10 men.
Mr Quinn's internal injuries included damage to his brain and lungs, while a catalogue of external wounds included a broken arm and broken leg.
A post-mortem concluded that he died from blunt force trauma as a result of injuries inflicted to almost every part of his body when he was set upon by the gang in a shed on a farm near the Co Monaghan village of Oram in October 2007.
The murder was condemned by the Irish government and several politicians in Britain and the Independent Monitoring Commission concluded that those involved were either members of the IRA or associated with it at a local level.
But there was no evidence that it was either ordered or sanctioned by the provisional leadership.
The late Brian Lenihan, who was then Justice Minister, also told the Irish Independent at the time that the government had taken a similar view.
Until the IRA was officially stood down as a paramilitary organisation, its members held huge sway over the groups involved in criminal activities in the Border region and usually demanded a slice of the profits to guarantee their protection.
But following the ceasefire a new breed of smugglers and other young criminals emerged in the Border counties and the supremacy of the former provisionals was challenged.
Mr Quinn was known to have associated with some of the young fuel smugglers, who did not recognise the control exerted in the area by the former IRA men.
It was this association that was thought to have led to a row between him and some IRA sympathisers and he was told to leave his native area.
But he ignored the warnings and continued to live in Cullyhanna in south Armagh, amidst the fuel smugglers and their IRA allies.
More than 200 people attended a public meeting in Cullyhanna community centre, shortly after the murder, to support Mr Quinn's family, who remained convinced their son was beaten to death by the IRA.