The Chief Constable of the PSNI would not comment on whether Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy will be questioned by police over the murder of Co Armagh man Paul Quinn.
Simon Byrne was grilled at Thursday’s Policing Board meeting over the issue by Ulster Unionist MLA Alan Chambers.
Finance Minister Mr Murphy apologised to the Quinn family for branding Paul (21) a criminal and a smuggler earlier this week after he was beaten to death by a gang using iron bars and cudgels in a barn in Co Monaghan in 2007.
Significant pressure has been growing on the authorities to speak to the Newry and Armagh MLA to find out which IRA individuals he spoke to at the time of the Cullyhanna man’s death.
Speaking at Thursday’s Policing Board meeting, Mr Chambers asked the Chief Constable directly: “Do the PSNI have any current plans to speak with Mr Conor Murphy to seek clarification from him as part of the ongoing investigation or indeed have they received any requests for the Garda Siochana to speak with him on their behalf?”
However, Mr Byrne replied by saying that the PSNI do not comment “as a matter of policy” on any individual witnesses or suspects during investigations as it “wouldn’t be fair to do so”.
He added that the investigation into Mr Quinn’s death is being led by the Garda Siochana and the PSNI will “work at their pace”.
“They are best placed to determine any further lines of enquiry,” continued Mr Byrne.
“I don’t think there’s anything we can add to the public debate as it wouldn’t be fair to any of the individuals.”