Belfast Telegraph

Family of murdered Paul Quinn hit out at Sinn Fein's Murphy for 'not lifting a finger'

By Suzanne Breen

The parents of a south Armagh man beaten to death by the IRA have accused local Sinn Fein politician Conor Murphy of "not lifting a finger" to help them find justice.

Breege and Stephen Quinn were speaking before today's 10th anniversary of their son Paul's murder.

The 21-year-old was assaulted by a 12-strong IRA gang with iron bars and nail-studded cudgels in a barn along the border on October 20, 2007.

His parents will lay flowers at his grave in Cullyhanna today and a Mass will be held for him in the village on Sunday.

"The pain is as great now as it was 10 years ago," Mrs Quinn said. "We will never rest until we get justice. Sinn Fein should hang their heads in shame for their response to Paul's murder."

After the killing Mr Murphy - who was then Stormont's Regional Development Minister - said he had spoken to the IRA and was satisfied it wasn't involved. He linked the murder to a feud among criminals.

Former Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern and the SDLP both asserted that the young Cullyhanna man wasn't a criminal.

The Quinns have repeatedly asked the Sinn Fein politician to lift "his disgraceful slur" against their son.

Mr Murphy told yesterday's Irish News that claims he had branded Mr Quinn a criminal were "without any foundation".

He stated that he had condemned the murder and "said consistently that the Quinn family deserve justice".

He called on anyone with information about the killing to contact the PSNI or Garda.

Although more than 20 people have been arrested during the Quinn murder investigation - including Padraig 'Paudie' Treanor, a former driver of Mr Murphy's - none has been charged.

Mrs Quinn said: "In 10 years, Conor Murphy as our local political representative has never lifted a finger to help us.

"Indeed, he caused us great distress at a time when we were already living a nightmare. Conor Murphy branded our beautiful boy, who did nothing whatsoever to deserve the awful death he received, as a criminal.

"We have repeatedly appealed to him, as a politician and a father, to withdraw his disgraceful slur against our son. He has refused to do so. For him to try to now make it out that he has supported us is nauseating."

Mr Quinn said Sinn Fein leaders could visit south Armagh and "secure justice for us within an hour because it's prominent members of the Provisional movement who murdered our son".

TUV leader Jim Allister last night accused Sinn Fein of "brazen and disingenuous spinning" after the killing and recalled Mr Murphy's claims at the time.

"A minister of the Stormont Assembly proclaimed that he had been to see the IRA leadership," he said.

"The incident speaks to the immorality of the sort of Executive some are so desperate to see return."

Mr Allister pointed to DUP statements expressing outrage at the killing.

"What did the DUP about it? Nothing. That is because this murder was politically inconvenient for those who sustained Sinn Fein in government."

He added: "People like Paul Quinn and Robert McCartney have been completely forgotten by the political establishment."

Every major bone in Mr Quinn's body below his neck was broken in the murder. He was targeted after clashing with local Provisionals over minor matters in the months before his death.

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