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Full transcript: 'I have been fighting morning, noon and night the past 13 years for justice' - mother of IRA victim Paul Quinn calls for Conor Murphy to resign


Paul Quinn

Paul Quinn

Paul Quinn

The mother of IRA murder victim Paul Quinn has called for Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy to publicly apologise to her family and resign after he claimed her son had been involved in criminality.

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An IRA gang is believed to be behind the brutal killing of the 21-year-old in Monaghan, every bone in his body was broken after he was lured to a shed near Castleblayney.

A month later Mr Murphy suggested that Mr Quinn had been involved in criminality.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald last night said her party colleague Conor Murphy "apologises and withdraws" remarks he made that Mr Quinn was involved in criminality.

She said she had spoken to Mr Murphy who was aware that the comments he had made "caused hurt and that hurt has endured" for the family of Mr Quinn.

A clip from BBC Spotlight, in which Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy claims Paul Quinn was 'involved in smuggling and criminality'.

Mr Quinn's mother today said she wants Mr Murphy to apologise to her family on television and to resign from his roles.

Read the full the transcript of the interview between Breege Quinn and Sean O'Rourke below:

SOR: Breege Quinn, good morning to you.

SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald will not be sacking the North’s Finance Minister Conor Murphy in the wake of his claim that murdered 21-year-old Paul Quinn was involved in criminality.

BQ: Good morning.

SOR: Thank you for taking our call. You watched the debate last night - can you describe for our listeners how you felt when you heard Mary Lou McDonald say that Conor Murphy is apologising for those remarks and is withdrawing them?

BQ: Well, I was surprised, because it was the way she said it, she said that she spoke to Conor Murphy, and he said he shouldn't have said those words, he shouldn’t have said what he said.

But the day he said it, it was soon after Paul was murdered, and he said that everybody knows that Paul was a criminal. And it just took yesterday afternoon for him to retract that and to say that he didn't say it.

But, Mary Lou came out last night and said Paul is not a criminal.

I will accept an apology from Conor Murphy, when he comes out on national television and apologises to us.

And when he has that done, I want him to go to the gardai and the PSNI and give them the names of the IRA men that he spoke to in Cullyhanna, and they reassured him that they didn't do it.

But he also said that everybody in Cullyhanna knew that Paul was a criminal. So, who do you believe Sean?

Why has he left us 13 years fighting, crying, and people are accusing us now of coming out when there’s an election to look for justice for Paul. I want to tell them that I have been fighting morning, noon and night the past 13 years for justice for my son.

SOR: Indeed, and what about that clip we heard there from Gerry Adams, the then president of Sinn Fein, he was speaking I think in Stormont. He said there was no republican involvement whatsoever in the murder of your son.

BQ: He also said that, that's what Conor Murphy said as well.

Yet, Conor Murphy… Why did Conor Murphy go to the IRA? Nobody asked him to go to the IRA.

On the night that Paul was murdered, the very next day, every political party, some member came to this door, but not one Sinn Féin member. That was even before we said that the IRA murdered him, that we said it out publicly.

SOR: Breege, you said you would accept an apology if Conor Murphy was to go on national television, now we heard you speaking to Mary Wilson and Drivetime on Monday, calling for the apology. Did you expect that it would come so quickly?

BQ: No, I didn't.

I knew the debate was on last night, I didn't know what was going to come out of it.

But Mary Lou just didn't come out straight.

She said all that matters now - it didn’t matter what Conor Murphy said, is that the Quinn family get an apology, that there is a family grieving. The family is grieving, Sean, 13 years, and she’s coming out now because of the election but I don't care but elections. I'm not political, and neither is my husband or any of my family.

She was put under pressure.

SOR: And what about Conor Murphy’s position, he’s finance minister in the power sharing executive in Stormont. Are you satisfied that he should remain in that position?

BQ: No. I would like to see Conor Murphy resign from all positions in Sinn Féin. There is no compassion whatsoever, regardless of what position he has. He was an MLA when Paul was murdered. He's a finance minister now. I would like to see him step down.

SOR: And even if he does go ahead and give an apology that you say you're prepared to accept if he's making it on national television.

BQ: If he makes it on national television and goes to the PSNI and gardai, which he hasn't done, we know for a fact he hasn’t it done, then, yes, we will speak to him.

SOR: And you’d meet him after he has gone to the gardai, and the PSNI, you would then be prepared to meet him.

BQ: Yes.

SOR: We all remember the details of what happened to your boy, And just reading in the last few days the image of you not being able to put a rosary beads around his fingers because they were so broken. I mean, how you say you've been grieving and it's obvious. And as you wouldn't it couldn't possibly be any other way, Breege, you're grieving for 15 years, but how are your family, getting on insofar as you can. I mean, it's obviously dominated every last day and hour of the 13 years since.

BQ: My husband hasn't gone anywhere since Paul died. Any functions, any weddings, he doesn't go. The only place he goes, every day is to the grave, hail, rain or snow. And if it's lashing rain, he’ll park outside the grave. This is what Conor Murphy has done to our family.

SOR: Well, it's the people who killed your son in the first instance, that gang of 10 men.

BQ: Yes, it is. Yes. But, it's also Conor Murphy, keeping up the hurt that he has caused us calling our son a criminal.

He too is a parent.

SOR: And you've got other children as well.

BQ: I have, Paul was the youngest.

SOR: James and Cathy.

BQ: Yeah.

SOR: How are they getting on in life?

BQ: They’re very, very angry. When they go out and meet these people, I don't know what they're going to react if they see these people but I pray and hope that it will just.. They’re getting on okay so far.

SOR: There was a quote from your son, James in the Irish Independent some years ago where we talked about when he saw Paul lying dead in the hospital bed, his body battered so badly. It was hard to even recognise him. He said he felt pure hatred, 'my blood was boiling' that the provos had reduced him to that state, and that he 'wanted revenge but thankfully wise heads, loyal friends who stood by my family after the murder spoke to me and I calmed down'.

BQ: Yeah, exactly. I have said to them also like two wrongs will never make a right. I don’t want those people to go out to a shed, and murdered like they done Paul. I want to see them in court, and in jail.

SOR: Do you think that you will ever see the killers brought to justice, realistically?

BQ: I hope I do, but you have to live in hope, like if you’ve no hope sure, you’ve nothing to live for.

SOR: Well, that's true. You have to have hope.

BQ: You have to have hope. It keeps you going.

And at the end of the day, we meet these people at all times but they can’t look at us, they won’t look at us. Our conscious are clear. Theirs are not.

If God called me, I'm happy to go, I never took nobody life, or supported any of those organisations.

SOR: And has anyone from Sinn Fein been a touch, say the last day or so since Mary Lou McDonald and Conor Murphy had a conversation yesterday, it seems, and also after what she said last night in the debate?

BQ: No, not one.

SOR: Okay well Breege, thank you so much for talking to us. There's no doubt that your grief endures and probably re intensified by having to to listen to and and to engage in the kinds of conversations that have been taking place in the last few days so thank you very much indeed for talking to us.

BQ: Thank you very much. I appreciate any help we can get in fighting for justice and shows like yours help us to do that.

SOR: And I should say that we've made several attempts to contact Conor Murphy this morning but have so far been unsuccessful we would of course be happy to hear from him at any stage before 12.

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