Belfast Telegraph

Richard Haass told: don't forget victims of 'peacetime'

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Post-Agreement victims in Northern Ireland must not be ignored during the Haass talks process in Northern Ireland, the parents of a man murdered six years ago have said.

Breege and Stephen Quinn, whose 21-year-old son Paul was battered to death in October 2007, have expressed concern that the voices of people killed after the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement could go unheard.

Their fears were outlined in a submission to the ongoing Haass negotiations – an initiative aimed at finding political resolution to longstanding disputes on legacy matters, parades and flags.

The couple from south Armagh said: "There is a particular concern that they should not be silenced or ignored because what they have to say may be politically awkward for some."

Paul Quinn, from Cullyhanna, was lured to his death at a remote cattle shed near Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, in October 2007. He was savagely attacked by a masked gang wielding iron bars, who broke every major bone in his body.

His parents believe he was killed by elements within the IRA, after becoming embroiled in a dispute with some of its members.

Their submission continued: "Since the murder, the family and its support group, mainly comprising Paul's friends and neighbours, has campaigned vigorously to have those responsible for his killing brought to justice."

Former US diplomat, Dr Richard Haass, was appointed by the first and deputy first ministers to help find a resolution to outstanding issues after the region endured one of the most troublesome years in over a decade.

He has until the end of the year to find consensus.

Dr Haass, who finished the third consultative phase of his initiative last week, has also received submissions from the Retired Police Officers' Association, the victims' campaign group, Relatives for Justice, and loyalist Jamie Bryson.

He is expected to return to Belfast in a fortnight to begin intensive negotiation with the five main Stormont Executive parties.

BACKGROUND

No-one has ever been charged with Paul Quinn's murder. A man arrested in connection with the killing in August was released pending a report to prosecutors.

It has been claimed the murder was carried out by members of the Provisional IRA's South Armagh Brigade after a dispute between Quinn and the son of a local IRA boss.

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