Friday 17 November 2017

Parents of man beaten to death by IRA will be ‘utterly disgusted’ if Murphy replaces McGuinness

Breege and Stephen Quinn stand in front of a photograph of their murdered son Paul. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Breege and Stephen Quinn stand in front of a photograph of their murdered son Paul. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Paul Williams

The parents of a young man who was savagely beaten to death by an IRA mob say they are "utterly disgusted" by the prospect of Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy being the most likely contender to replace Martin McGuinness in Stormont.

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Breege and Stephen Quinn from South Armagh accused Mr Murphy of withholding information about the murder of their son Paul in 2007.

"Conor Murphy clearly has information which would be of assistance to the gardaí about the murder of our son, but he has avoided them and us at every opportunity… he has serious questions to answer but he is getting away with saying nothing," said Breege Quinn.

The 21-year-old died from horrific injuries inflicted when up to a dozen IRA men beat him with iron bars and nail-studded cudgels after he was lured to a farm shed across the Border in Co Monaghan.

Paul Quinn was targeted by the IRA after he stood up to a number of local republicans, including a local Provo godfather who is heavily involved in organised crime in the area.

The problem came to a head when the murder victim beat the Provo's son in a fist fight.

Conor Murphy. Photo: Reuters
Conor Murphy. Photo: Reuters

The gang held three friends of Paul Quinn hostage and forced them to arrange a meeting with him at the isolated farm shed on October 20, 2007.

When Paul Quinn arrived, he was set upon and beaten by the mob for over half-an-hour, breaking every bone in his body - he died a few hours later in hospital.

"All the people around Conor Murphy know who murdered Paul, the dogs on the streets know who murdered Paul.

"They were members of Sinn Féin and the IRA and, what is more, Conor Murphy knows them personally," she added.

"I would be disgusted and sickened knowing that man (Murphy) is sitting up in the deputy first minister's office in Stormont and what he knows about the murder of an innocent young man."

Immediately after the murder, Mr Murphy, who was then an MP, took the unusual step of issuing a public statement claiming that he had spoken to the IRA in South Armagh and was satisfied they weren't involved.

Mr Murphy also branded the victim as "a criminal" and linked his murder to a gangland feud which, he claimed, had no connections with the republican movement.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and other senior figures in the party also repeated the allegations, which have been refuted by the police on both sides of the Border.

Despite repeated calls from the friends and family of the murdered man, Mr Murphy has not offered any information to investigating gardaí.

He has also refused to apologise to the Quinn family for calling their son a criminal.

The Garda investigation, based at Monaghan station, has seen the arrest of more than 20 people - including Padraig 'Paudie' Treanor, a former driver for Mr Murphy. No one has yet been charged.

Breege Quinn said she and her family had no intention of giving up their quest for justice.

"Conor Murphy said he spoke to the IRA immediately after Paul's murder and they said they didn't do it; and then he cast a slur on our son by calling him a criminal," the heartbroken mother added.

"We called on Murphy to tell us who he spoke to in the IRA and to share his information with the gardaí investigating Paul's murder but he has done nothing.

"We also called on him to publicly apologise for the slur on our son's good name, but again he has done absolutely nothing and has completely snubbed us.

"Conor Murphy has not gone to the gardaí or the PSNI even though every day you hear him and other members of Sinn Féin encouraging people to go to the police if they have any information - it illustrates the liars and hypocrites that they are. The reason he tried to claim that Paul was involved in crime was to imply that he had it coming to him and also to take the attention away from the IRA in South Armagh.

"The truth is that the only people involved in crime in this part of the country are members of the IRA and Sinn Féin - they control everything."

Gardaí and the PSNI have repeatedly confirmed their belief that Paul Quinn was not a criminal and that he was murdered by known members of the IRA, who are also active members of Sinn Féin, on the orders of a senior Provo in South Armagh.

The then Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern, and the SDLP also stated their belief that the victim was not a criminal and that the murder was intended to reinforce the republican movement's stranglehold over the people of South Armagh.

Despite Sinn Féin's repeated denials, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) - set up to monitor the activities of paramilitaries - also confirmed the involvement of the IRA in the murder.

In November 2007, the IMC stated: "We do believe that those involved… included people who are members or former members, or have associations with members or former members of the Provisional IRA."

Breege Quinn said: "We have no intention of giving up our campaign for justice, no matter how long it takes."

Irish Independent

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