Quinn parents are left shattered after van trail runs cold
The parents of IRA murder victim Paul Quinn have spoken of their devastation as hopes were last night shattered that gardaí had found the van that the killer gang used.
A man in his early 50s was arrested as gardaí began digging in land near the border yesterday.
It is understood gardaí believed they had found the vehicle in which the IRA team involved in the brutal murder had travelled in a disused quarry.
The man arrested in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, is from south Armagh and is well known locally.
Paul Quinn, from Cullyhanna, was savagely beaten to death by a 12-strong gang of Provisionals in a barn in Oram, Co Monaghan, in October 2007.
Gardaí searched a farm in Castleblaney, around three miles from the murder scene, with ground-penetrating radar equipment.
The scanners showed material which it was believed could have been the van that had transported the IRA men to the barn in Oram and in which they made their escape.
A digger was then brought in to excavate the material.
However, sources told the Irish Independent that it turned out to be dumped household goods. "It was not the van. It looks like the contents of a house - an old washing machine, sewing machine and other used household goods were buried under the ground," one source said.
Paul Quinn's father, Stephen, said: "We are very disappointed by this news. We had thought that at last there was a breakthrough in the murder investigation and that the van had been found. Breege and I had hoped that this was the first step on the road to justice for Paul."
But Stephen said he still believed that his son's killers would one day face trial.
"While our hopes were shattered this time round, the garda operation does show that this is very much a live investigation.
"The gardaí have been brilliant from the beginning. They have always said they won't give up and this is proof that they're keeping their word to us. They stay in regular contact with us and keep us well informed.
"Paul's killers should not for a minute think they've got away with it.
I want them to know that any time of the day or night, there could be a knock on their door that is the police there to bring them to justice for what they did to my son."
The young south Armagh man was beaten to death after clashing with several local Provisional IRA figures over minor matters. Every bone in his body beneath his neck was broken in the brutal attack. He had been lured to the remote farm where a dozen men in black military clothing were waiting.
Although more than 20 people have been arrested by detectives in connection with the killing, none have been charged. The gardaí investigation reveals a high degree of planning on the day of the murder, sources said.