Conor Murphy rejects SDLP calls to 'remove the slur' on murdered south Armagh man
CONOR Murphy has rejected a call urging him to "remove the slur" on a south Armagh man brutally murdered a decade ago.
Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the killing of Paul Quinn, SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said the Sinn Féin politician should withdraw comments he made linking the 21 year-old's death with criminality.
The former Newry and Armagh MP however said the claims he branded Mr Quinn a criminal are "without any foundation".
Mr Quinn was beaten to death after being lured to a barn at Oram, Co Monaghan, on October 20 2007.
Although 20 arrests have been made, no-one has been convicted of the killing which is widely believed to have been carried out by the IRA.
Following the murder, Mr Murphy said he had spoken to the IRA and was satisfied they were not involved. He said the death was linked to criminality and a feud among criminals.
Mr McNulty last night said the senior Sinn Féin politician should "remove the slur on the name of Paul Quinn".
"At the time Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy sought to justify the brutality of the murder by callously brandishing Paul as a criminal," he said.
"Conor was wrong and he has a duty to withdraw that slur on a murdered man's name.
"Police Services north and south contradicted Conor Murphy, as did the then Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern.
"Paul Quinn is not a criminal.
"His only offence was to stand up to the bullies Conor Murphy has sought to defend."
But Mr Murphy last night said the "allegations are completely without any foundation".
"I have condemned the murder of Paul Quinn and said consistently that the Quinn family deserve justice," he said.
"I call again on anyone with any information about the murder of Paul Quinn to bring it forward to An Garda Síochána or the PSNI."