Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams’ slur on our murdered boy
The parents of Paul Quinn, who was beaten to death by south Armagh IRA gangsters in 2007, have called on Gerry Adams to withdraw the Sinn Fein “slur” against their son that claimed he was a criminal.
And they challenged Mr Adams to give the gardai all the information he has about the brutal slaying of their son.
Sinn Fein actively prompted journalists to believe the 21-year-old was killed purely as a result of criminal activity in south Armagh.
Similarly, in another sinister case of paramilitary murder, Sinn Fein sources in Dublin blackened the name of Joseph Rafferty, another entirely innocent young man who was shot dead in April 2005 by the IRA.
Mr Rafferty was killed after also “disrespecting” the organisation after a spat that began when Joseph (29) spurned the sexual advances of the partner of a well-known IRA figure.
Sinn Fein leaked information to journalists that Mr Rafferty was shot because of involvement in drugs. This was carried in a number of media outlets before the Sunday Independent and other INM newspapers reported firmly that this was untrue. Mr Rafferty was holding down three jobs to pay for his apartment in Ongur in west Dublin at the time he was murdered.
Mr Rafferty’s family revealed they had approached Sinn Fein on three occasions prior to his murder trying to have the death threat against him lifted.
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In the Paul Quinn case, gardai firmly believe he was beaten to death for “disrespecting” a local IRA leader who, they say, is also a locally well-known Sinn Fein activist.
Paul’s parents, Breege and Stephen are now asking for a meeting with Gerry Adams so that he can withdraw his party’s branding of their son as a criminal. They pointed out that he had no money and owned a car worth only around £100 when he was murdered, beaten to death by a gang of well-known south Armagh IRA men.
Their call comes amid renewed garda activity in the seven-year long investigation following the arrest of two men in Northern Ireland over the January 1999 murder of another man, Eamon Collins that is believed to have been carried out by the same gang that murdered Paul Quinn.
Both murders were marked by a degree of savagery which left even experienced detectives stunned. Gardai believe both murders were ordered by the Provisional IRA’s “OC” (officer commanding) in south Armagh, Peter John Caraher, who died three years ago.
Gerry Adams was well acquainted with Caraher and gave the oration at his burial in Cullyhanna in October 2011.
He described Caraher as “a giant through our Troubles, a steadfast republican” and described him as “OC” (officer commanding) of the south Armagh IRA.
He also described Caraher as “a deeply religious man, a committed republican, a life-long pioneer, a member of the Lourdes committee”.
But other republican sources described Caraher as a corrupt sectarian bigot who had given the order for the mass murder of 10 Protestant workmen at Whitecross in south Armagh in January 1976 in retaliation for the loyalist murders of Catholics.
Caraher was not present but is believed to have given the go-ahead for the murder of Paul Quinn after the young man had “disrespected” another local IRA boss.
Paul, his friends say, was involved in a brief dispute with a relative of the local Provo and this escalated into threats to his life and his eventual murder.
Local people are convinced Paul Quinn’s murder was committed simply to reinforce the IRA — and Sinn Fein’s — total control in south Armagh, one of the last places in Northern Ireland where the PSNI remain unable to operate normal policing duties and still need helicopter cover to carry out operations.
After the murder of Mr Quinn, Mr Adams clearly implied the 21-year-old’s murder was related to criminal activity in south Armagh. He said there “was no republican involvement whatsoever in this man’s murder. The people involved are criminals… this is linked to fuel-smuggling and to criminal activity”.
His parents, Breege and Stephen want Adams and Sinn Fein to withdraw this “slur” against their son.
A memorial mass to mark the seventh anniversary of Paul Quinn’s death was held at his local parish church in Cullyhanna last Saturday.
Seven years after the murder, on October 20 2007 in a disused shed just south of the Border in Co Louth, Breege and Stephen Quinn are still seeking justice.
“We want him (Adams) to go to the guards and tell them what he knows. We are asking him to come down and sort this out,” Mr Quinn said.
“Everyone here knows who did it. I want Gerry Adams to come out and tell the gardai what he knows about the people who murdered Paul.”
Mr Quinn said a family friend visited Adams at the Sinn Fein offices on the Falls Road in Belfast a week after the murder and told him who was involved. He said: “Gerry Adams had and has the names of two of those responsible.”
He said Gerry Adams’ suggestion that his son was a criminal was a “complete lie”. He pointed out that Paul would borrow small sums of money from his parents and had a 10-year-old Toyota Carina which he had bought “for around £100”. The car is still at the back of the family home in Anamar in Cullyhanna.
Paul had no money at all in his pockets when he was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where he died from his injuries. The gang of up to 10 men used steel bars and truncheons studded with nails to beat him to death.
The Quinn family call on Adams to reveal everything he knows about the murder amid renewed garda activity in the case following the questioning of a man, who has been referred to as “the voice”, directing the gang which bludgeoned Paul to death in the hay shed at Tullycoora in Co Louth.
The man’s questioning comes after renewed investigations by the PSNI into the murder of Eamon Collins, who was also beaten and stabbed to death after being run over by a car on the outskirts of Newry in January 1999 by members of the same gang that murdered Paul Quinn.
It is understood that DNA analysis carried out on the blade of a hunting knife which broke off and was left inside Mr Collins’ skull during the murder has yielded evidence which detectives hope might lead to arrests in this murder.
The Quinn and Rafferty families were joined in their campaigning for justice by the sisters of Robert McCartney, the 32-year-old father of one, who was stabbed, beaten and had his throat cut by the IRA in Belfast in January 2005.
Some 70 members or supporters of Sinn Fein were in the bar where Mr McCartney was attacked. They had earlier attended the party’s annual Bloody Sunday commemoration in Derry.
None of the potential witnesses came forward to tell police what they had seen.
Instead, they made statements to solicitors mostly saying they had not witnessed the murder.
A considerable number said they were in the toilet at the time.