An informer within IRA ranks has come forward with crucial new information about the murder of South Armagh man, Paul Quinn.
The disillusioned Provo has told gardai the name of the senior republican from the border area whom he alleges led the gang who brutally beat the 21-year-old to death in a barn in Co Monaghan seven years ago.
Sources close to the investigation said the IRA veteran has recently been quizzed by detectives leading the murder inquiry as a result of this information.
Paul Quinn died in hospital shortly after he was savagely assaulted on October 20, 2007.
His family and friends will gather in Cullyhanna next weekend for a Mass and commemoration to mark the seventh anniversary of his murder.
In an interview with Sunday Life, Paul's father, Stephen Quinn, accused Sinn Fein of continuing to shield his son's killers, but he warned that the garda investigation remained very active.
“We believe we'll secure justice. This isn't a case gardai have put on the back burner. It's open and progressing all the time.
“Those who murdered my son may think they've got away with it, but they shouldn't sleep easily in their beds. Their past will catch up with them,” he said.
A source close to the investigation said the senior local Provisional went voluntarily to Carrickmacross garda station to be interviewed in the presence of his solicitor after hearing detectives had been searching for him.
“Information that this man led the IRA gang who beat Paul Quinn with cudgels and iron bars has been conveyed to gardai.
“They have been told he stood in the barn, giving the instructions to Paul's assailants,” the source said.
The senior Provisional, who is in his 50s, has previously served a prison sentence and is well known in the south Armagh and north Louth area. He has held position within Sinn Fein.
Police on both sides of the border believe he was one of three IRA men involved in the November 1994 murder of Newry post office worker, Frank Kerr, but he has never faced charges in connection with that incident.
Kerr, the first person the IRA killed after its ceasefire, was shot in the head as he struggled with the gang robbing the mail office. They escaped with £130,000.
The republican questioned about Paul Quinn's murder is known as a ‘heavy' for the Provos. He was one of those who knocked on the doors of Real IRA members to issue death threats against them in 1998.
Although more than 20 people have been arrested during the Quinn murder investigation — including Padraig ‘Paudie’ Treanor, a former driver of Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy. None has been charged.
The gardai investigation reveals a high degree of planning on the day of the murder.
Phone records examined by detectives showed the mobiles of around eight key suspects were turned off at the same time that afternoon. They were then almost simultaneously turned on after 6pm following the beating.
The IRA targeted Paul Quinn for clashing with several local Provos over minor matters in the months before his killing.
After the murder, Conor Murphy MP said he had spoken to the IRA and was satisfied they weren't involved. He branded Paul “a criminal” and linked his murder to a feud among criminals.
Former Irish Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, and the SDLP both asserted that Paul wasn't a criminal. Stephen Quinn said: “Seven year's after Paul's murder, we appeal to Conor Murphy, as a politician and a father, to withdraw his disgraceful slur against our son.”
Living in a small rural community, the Quinns regularly come face-to-face with the men who killed Paul. Stephen said: “There's not a day I don't meet those who were involved in some way.
“Whether they ordered or directed it or beat him, they all have blood on their hands.”
He accused Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams of failing to help their campaign for justice: “These two could come to south Armagh and secure justice for us within an hour because it’s prominent members of the provisional movement who murdered our son.”