Parents of murder victim Paul Quinn accept Conor Murphy's apology

Stephen and Breege Quinn at the graveside of their murdered son Paul Quinn at St Patrick's Church Cullyhanna Co. Armagh. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Brendan Hughes

THE parents of murder victim Paul Quinn last night accepted an apology from Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy for linking their son to criminality following his death in 2007.

However, Breege and Stephen Quinn also demanded that Mr Murphy co-operate with the Gardaí investigation and provide "IRA names" of those they believe are linked to the 21-year-old's brutal killing.

In a tweet posted last night, the South Armagh woman said she and her husband accepted the apology, but regretted that it had taken "13 years of pain and election pressures for the apology to come".

Mr Quinn, from Cullyhanna, was beaten to death by a gang of around a dozen men in a farm shed near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan 13 years ago.

Every major bone below his neck was broken in the attack, in which the gang used nail-studded clubs and iron bars.

Speaking a month after his murder in a BBC Spotlight interview, Mr Murphy said Mr Quinn had links to criminality and smuggling.

However, the Sinn Féin Stormont finance minister told RTÉ yesterday: "Remarks that I made at the time of his killing are a matter of regret. I am sorry that that has added to the grief that the family has felt. I want to apologise to them for that.

"I want to withdraw those remarks."

While calls were made by the TUV's Jim Allister and UUP MLA Doug Beattie for Mr Murphy to step down from his post, DUP First Minister Arlene Foster instead said the decision rested with his party.

Asked yesterday at a Stormont scrutiny committee if she was happy to continue to work with Mr Murphy, Mrs Foster said government appointments were made by individual parties, adding that his future in the role was "a matter for Sinn Féin".

Mrs Foster added: "Wherever possible, if mistakes are made, we should reflect. "I haven't heard Conor's apology, but I think it is right that should happen.

"I'm sure Mr and Mrs Quinn would want above all to have justice for their son."

Sinn Fein's deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill, also said yesterday: "Paul Quinn was not a criminal. Paul Quinn was murdered by criminals and Conor will make that very clear on the record today."

Sinn Fein's response to the murder has become an issue in the Republic's election campaign.

Mrs Quinn firmly rejected claims she is speaking out for political motives.

She recalled her son's love of life, saying he would have "done anything for anyone".

"We've been accused of coming out looking for justice because there is an election on - I've been fighting for justice for Paul for 13 years regardless whether there is an election or not," she said.

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