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Conor Murphy 'has put our family through hell', says Breege Quinn during Stormont visit

Paul Quinn parents hold talks with political parties over son's brutal murder

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Breege and Stephen Quinn, parents murdered man Paul Quinn at Stormont on Monday for talks with political parties. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Breege and Stephen Quinn, parents murdered man Paul Quinn at Stormont on Monday for talks with political parties. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Breege and Stephen Quinn, parents murdered man Paul Quinn at Stormont on Monday for talks with political parties. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The mother of Paul Quinn has visited Stormont to hold talks with politicians about the murder in Co Monaghan 13 years ago.

Breege Quinn said Finance Minister Conor Murphy has put her family through hell due to comments he made about the 21-year-old's murder in 2007.

Ms Quinn reiterated her call for the Finance Minister to go to police with any information he might have about her son's murder.

Paul Quinn was beaten to death by the IRA in a barn in Oram, Co Monaghan, in 2007. The 21-year-old Cullyhanna man had previously clashed with the son of the local Provisional IRA commander.

Following the murder Mr Murphy said in a BBC interview Paul was a criminal and a smuggler, remarks he later denied making but was forced to admit after a tape of the interview was unearthed.

He went on to retract his comments and apologised but has so far refused the family's demand that he categorically state Paul was not a criminal.

Both Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and vice president Michelle O'Neill have stated he was not a criminal.

Speaking in Stormont on Monday, Breege Quinn said: "Conor Murphy said he was sorry for the hurt he put us through. He did not say that Paul was not a criminal. He said he does not know why he said those words on that day," she continued.

"He says now he is sorry for saying those words... [he has] put our family through hell."

Posting on Twitter, Breege Quinn said she hopes politicians listen to her message.

"I hope Conor Murphy is listening so that we can move our attention back to the men who killed our Paul and who are walking freely around Cullyhanna and Crossmaglen while our son is in the ground."

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald responded to Breege Quinn's statement. "The hurt felt by the family is very genuine," she said.

"I've spoken to Breege and I hope to meet her and I would like her and Conor Murphy to sit down and talk. I wish her peace of mind and I wish her justice because those who carried out this brutal murder are still at large.

"I hear [her statement] and our next move has to be to actually sit down face-to-face," she said.

Last week, Stormont's Finance Committee wrote to Conor Murphy telling his conduct around the incident "calls into question" his fitness for the office of Finance Minister.

The letter asks him to explain why he branded Paul a criminal and why he "denied the comments for the past 13 years".

Responding to the letter, a Sinn Fein spokesman said: "When Conor Murphy took up the post of Finance Minister only weeks ago, nearly all of these parties wished him well and supported him in the role.

"And now, over the last week, they have developed serious considerations about his place in office over remarks made 13 years ago.

"Conor has written to the family, unreservedly withdrawn his remarks and apologised, and he continues to carry out the important task of Finance Minister."

Belfast Telegraph