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'Why has he left us 13 years fighting and crying?' - mother of IRA victim Paul Quinn calls for Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy to resign

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Conor Murphy. Photo: PA Wire

Conor Murphy. Photo: PA Wire

PA

Conor Murphy. Photo: PA Wire

The mother of IRA murder victim Paul Quinn has called for Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy to resign, and to publicly apologise for a slur he made against her son.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald last night said her party colleague Conor Murphy "apologises and withdraws" remarks he made that 21-year-old Mr Quinn was involved in criminality.

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

Ms McDonald came under intense pressure on the issue on the RTÉ leaders' debate and was challenged on her defence of Mr Murphy in an RTÉ interview 24 hours previously. She was also confronted with comments Mr Murphy made in 2007.

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

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.

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Stephen and Breege Quinn hold a picture of their murdered son Paul

Stephen and Breege Quinn hold a picture of their murdered son Paul

This morning Breege Quinn called for Conor Murphy to resign from Sinn Féin.

"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," she told RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke.

"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."

She said she is prepared to speak with Mr Murphy if he makes a televised public apology.

"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 done it, then yes, we will speak to him."

Ms Quinn added that her family are still trying to come to terms with Paul's death.

"My husband hasn't gone anywhere since Paul died. Any functions anywhere, 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," she said.

Ms Quinn last night told Independent.ie that she wanted Mr Murphy to publicly apologise for his comments.

"For almost 13 years Conor Murphy and Sinn Féin caused additional hurt to me and my family after the murder of my son. He made the slur against my son Paul publicly, and I want him to publicly withdraw it and apologise.

"He also needs to clarify whether or not he gave IRA names to police."

Speaking on the debate, Ms McDonald said she had remembered Mr Murphy was "not quite as direct" when he made the remarks in 2007 in relation to the brutal murder of Mr Quinn in the same year.

But presenter Miriam O'Callaghan quoted what Mr Murphy told the BBC in November 2007 - a month after Mr Quinn was murdered. "Paul Quinn was involved in smuggling and criminality, I think everyone accepts that.

"As I say this is a very difficult situation as there is a family grieving and I don't want to add to their grief," Mr Murphy was quoted as saying by Ms O'Callaghan.

Responding after these remarks were read out, Ms McDonald said those things "should not have been said" and that Mr Murphy "withdraws and apologises" for them. She said the remarks were wrong, withdrawn, and she was wrong to previously deny that Mr Murphy had said them.

"I remembered Conor being not quite as direct on this matter," she said when asked about her comments during an interview with Bryan Dobson on RTÉ on Tuesday night.

She said Mr Murphy had spoken to the PSNI and gardaí about the case.

Ms McDonald said Mr Murphy was going to apologise to Mrs Quinn.

Irish Independent


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