THE parents of murdered Paul Quinn have said there are “no words for the hurt and humiliation” they feel after comments made at a Sinn Féin rally last month.
Breege and Stephen Quinn have repeated their call on a senior Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy to state their son was not a criminal ahead of meetings with political leaders in Leinster House on Thursday.
Mrs Quinn criticised remarks at a Sinn Féin rally in Newry last week where party leader Mary Lou McDonald was told that Mr Murphy had "nothing to apologise for".
The comment from a Sinn Féin supporter at the rally drew a rousing round of applause from the 700 people in attendance at the meeting. Neither Ms McDonald nor Mr Murphy, who were both at the rally, responded to the comments.
The parents of Paul Quinn are at Leinster House today repeating their call for Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy to say their son was not a criminal and to go to the PSNI with information about the murder.— Hugh O'Connell (@oconnellhugh) March 5, 2020
"There are no words for the hurt and humiliation we feel," says Breege Quinn. pic.twitter.com/UXAu3GteYo
Both have apologised to the Quinn family but she wants Mr Murphy to state publicly that her son was not a criminal.
“There are no words for the hurt and humiliation we feel to have heard these words applauded at a political rally and yet we are the ones accused of making this political,” Mrs Quinn said outside Leinster House on Thursday.
She said what happened at the rally “flies in the face” of Ms McDonald’s apology to her last month.
“It is now well-documented what we expect. We again repeat our call on Conor Murphy to say the simple words that Paul Quinn was not a criminal and go to the PSNI and the gardaí with the names of the IRA men he spoke to in Cullyhanna,” Ms Quinn said.
She said “the slur” against her son still remains and is “being actively promoted by Sinn Féin” and questioned whether Ms McDonald was in charge of Sinn Féin. “It seems that Mary Lou has no say in telling Conor Murphy to come out and give the Quinn family justice for the murder of their son,” Mrs Quinn said.
She said the Quinn family would continue her campaign for justice. They, along with SDLP figures, are meeting with senior figures in Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour in the hope that they will speak to Ms McDonald “to see where she stands on this and to see if she is the leader”.
Paul Quinn, from Cullyhanna in south Armagh, was 21 when he was beaten to death by a gang of around a dozen men in a farm shed on the border near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan in 2007. His family blame people linked to the IRA for his murder.
Shortly after the murder, Conor Murphy, who is currently the North’s finance minister, said Mr Quinn was involved in “smuggling and criminality”.
Last month during the general election campaign Mr Murphy apologised and withdrew the comments but he has not, as the Quinn family have asked for, stated publicly that Mr Quinn was not a criminal.
This stands in contrast to his party leader Mary Lou McDonald, who has spoken with Mrs Quinn by phone in recent weeks, and stated publicly that she did not believe the murdered man was a criminal.
A Sinn Féin spokesperson said: "Conor Murphy has apologised for the remarks that he made and has unreservedly withdrawn them."