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BBC Spotlight footage shows Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy labelled IRA murder victim Paul Quinn a criminal

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Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy on Spotlight

Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy on Spotlight

Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy on Spotlight

A Sinn Fein minister branded IRA murder victim Paul Quinn a smuggler and a criminal - despite Mary Lou McDonald saying that he told her that he had never done so.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy has insisted claims he described Paul Quinn in such derogatory terms were "totally without foundation".

When asked about the issue in an election interview with RTE's Bryan Dobson on Monday, the Sinn Fein president said: "I've spoken to Conor Murphy about this issue before.

"He is very clear that he never said that. That that is not his view."

But the Belfast Telegraph has uncovered footage from a BBC Spotlight documentary a month after the 21-year-old south Armagh man's murder.

In an interview that was broadcast on November 13, 2007, Mr Murphy said: "Paul Quinn was involved in smuggling and criminality and I think everyone accepts that.

"As I say this is a very difficult situation because there's a family grieving here and you don't want to add to that grief by saying things about their son."

He has denied saying something that he is recorded on tape as saying. It is bad enough that he blackened Paul's name. But then for him to insist he never did so is despicable Breege Quinn

Paul Quinn was beaten to death by an IRA gang in a farmhouse in Oram, Co Monaghan.

Every major bone below his neck was broken in the brutal attack.

He had previously clashed with a local IRA commander's son.

His mother Breege has repeatedly asked Mr Murphy to withdraw his "slur" against her son.

Mr Murphy has denied that he ever branded Paul a criminal.

He told the Irish News on October 19, 2017, that claims he did so were "totally without foundation".

Mrs Quinn last night said: "Since my son was murdered, Sinn Fein has behaved terribly. Far from comforting my family, they have added to our pain and suffering.

"Conor Murphy is a senior Executive minister in Northern Ireland.

"He has denied saying something that he is recorded on tape as saying. It is bad enough that he blackened Paul's name. But then for him to insist he never did so is despicable.

"We didn't make it up that Conor branded Paul a criminal. We are not liars. Those words came from his mouth.

"He should have retracted his words long ago and issued an apology."

Ms McDonald last night said that Mr Murphy would withdraw his remarks and say sorry to the Quinn family.

When his quotes were read out to her by interviewer Miriam O'Callaghan during RTE's Prime Time leaders' debate, the Sinn Fein president described them as "wrong".

She said: "Those things should not have been said. Conor withdraws them and apologises."

Mrs Quinn said that Mr Murphy must make a public apology to her family. "He blackened Paul's name in public, and he must apologise the same way. A private phone call or chat won't do," she added.

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