Civilian lives do not count, says mum of man beaten to death by the IRA
The mother of Paul Quinn - the south Armagh man beaten to death by the IRA - said the report into paramilitary activity treats the murder of civilians like her son as less important than the murders of security force members. The report, published yesterday on the eighth anniversary of his killing, creates a "hierarchy of life with people like my son on the bottom rung", Breege Quinn said.
Paul (21) was beaten by an IRA gang in a barn in Co Monaghan.
Every bone in his body below his neck was broken in the savage assault. He died in hospital on October 20, 2007.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night from her Cullyhanna home, Breege said: "I don't need a report to tell me that the IRA still exists. In south Armagh and other nationalist areas, we know that too well.
"Today, I went to Paul's grave to lay flowers and light a few wee candles. My heart's as broken now as it was eight years ago, and I've still not got justice. The IRA got away with murdering Paul, they got away with murdering Kevin McGuigan, and they'll get away with murdering more people because nobody in power seems prepared to stop them."
Breege accused the report of "downplaying" murders like her son's. "The report says it's unlikely that the IRA and others will 'return to terrorism'. That means that the killing of civilians like Paul isn't regarded by the authorities as terrorism.
"It only counts as terrorism if it's police or soldiers being murdered. That's so wrong to me.
"Everybody's life should matter but, in this place, it's business as usual providing it's only civilians being killed by the IRA."
Catherine McCartney, whose brother Robert was stabbed to death by IRA members outside Magennis's bar in Belfast 10 years ago, said: "It's no revelation to me to say that the IRA still exists, is armed, and retains its Army Council. But I think this report is trying to sanitise the IRA, to present it as some sort of guardian for the peace in the nationalist community."
She claimed the report viewed paramilitaries murdering police officers as more dangerous than paramilitaries killing civilians.
"Murder is wrong and all murders should be treated the same whether or not the victim is wearing a uniform," she said.
"I believe that had the IRA killed a judge or policeman that night outside Magennis's bar, and not a forklift driver as Robert was, then the murder would have been treated differently."
She added: "The murders of ordinary working-class men like Robert don't matter in any real sense and are swept under the carpet."