| 13.3°C Belfast


Editor's Viewpoint

Courage needed to beat paramilitaries

Editor's Viewpoint


Close

'The murders of Paul and Glenn Quinn were totally unrelated, but a warning to their respective communities that paramilitaries rule the roost and anyone defying them runs the risk of a severe beating at best or death at worst.'  (stock photo)

'The murders of Paul and Glenn Quinn were totally unrelated, but a warning to their respective communities that paramilitaries rule the roost and anyone defying them runs the risk of a severe beating at best or death at worst.' (stock photo)

'The murders of Paul and Glenn Quinn were totally unrelated, but a warning to their respective communities that paramilitaries rule the roost and anyone defying them runs the risk of a severe beating at best or death at worst.' (stock photo)

One name resonates in the litany of victims whose lives have been savagely taken in what are supposed to be times of peace in Northern Ireland. That name is Quinn and it features in three examples of the stomach-churning brutality of paramilitaries whose blood lust overwhelms what little humanity they must possess.

There were the three little Quinn brothers who were killed when the UVF petrol bombed their home in Ballymoney at the height of the Drumcree marching dispute in 1998. Then in 2007, former IRA members were among a gang who beat 21-year-old South Armagh man Paul Quinn to death in a barn in Co Monaghan, breaking every bone in his body from the neck down. And in January this year, members of the notorious South East Antrim UDA beat terminally ill Glenn Quinn to death in his flat in Carrickfergus and walked away laughing.

A current government hearts and minds advertising campaign runs under the slogan 'Paramilitaries don't defend you, they control you'. The murders of Paul and Glenn Quinn were totally unrelated, but a warning to their respective communities that paramilitaries rule the roost and anyone defying them runs the risk of a severe beating at best or death at worst.

In our interview with the sister of Glenn Quinn, the detail of how three men armed with iron bars and cudgels pounced on the defenceless and frail man who suffered from a terminal illness and beat him mercilessly is shocking.

But sometimes we need to be reminded of the savagery such gangsters are capable of. The phrase 'punishment beating' is often used when victims are assaulted which infers some sort of street justice being meted out.

However, those meting out the beatings have no legitimacy to do so, nor should they dare to claim the moral high ground against anyone given their involvement in murder, racketeering and drug dealing.

Those responsible for Glenn Quinn's death are known to police, but unless police can obtain a confession or forensic evidence to link the perpetrators to the crime, the killers will continue to walk free through the streets of Carrick.

The paramilitaries are so embedded in society that law-abiding people are afraid to give evidence against them lest they, too, are targeted. But unless they find the courage to assist police, the paramilitaries will continue in control.

Belfast Telegraph