Northern Ireland news

Paul Quinn's parents ‘hurt' after Conor Murphy told ‘nothing to apologise for' during a Sinn Féin rally

Breege and Stephen Quinn. Picture by Hugh Russell 

The parents of murdered south Armagh man Paul Quinn said they have been left “hurt and humiliated” after Conor Murphy was told he has “nothing to apologise for” during a Sinn Féin rally.

Mr Quinn’s mother, Breege, said a member of their own community made the comments during the public meeting in Newry which went unchallenged by Sinn Fein.

Mrs Quinn and her husband Stephen are at Leinster House in Dublin to meet a number of political parties.

The large crowd that gathered in the Canal Court Hotel last week applauded the speaker’s comments in the presence of Mr Murphy.

Northern Ireland’s finance minister has been under pressure to publicly retract a claim he made 13 years ago that Mr Quinn had been involved in criminality.

Last month Mr Murphy apologised to the family for branding their son a criminal after his murder.

“We heard someone from our own community state to a room full of people that Conor Murphy has nothing to apologise for in relation to Paul’s murder,” said Mrs Quinn.

“This went unchallenged by Mary Lou McDonald and flies in the face of her phone call only a few weeks ago.

“She remained silent and to say we are disappointed is an understatement.

“There are no words for the hurt and humiliation we feel to have heard these words applauded at a political rally and yet we are the ones being accused of making this political.

“This last week has been a difficult one but it has strengthened our resolve.”

Mrs Quinn said she wants justice for her son and will “fight to remove any obstacle” that prevents it.

The 21-year-old, from Cullyhanna, was beaten to death by a gang of around a dozen men in a farm shed across the border near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, in 2007.

His family blame members of the IRA, but Sinn Fein has long denied republican involvement.

Mrs Quinn added: “We repeat our call for Conor Murphy to say the simple words – that Paul Quinn was not a criminal – and go to the PSNI and the gardai with the names of the IRA men he spoke to in Cullyhanna.

“We are not satisfied with obscure apologies and gestures from Mary Lou McDonald and Conor Murphy.

“The slur still remains and has been actively promoted by Sinn Fein.

“He (Mr Murphy) must be afraid of the men he spoke to in Cullyhanna.

“We’ve asked Mary Lou to ask him to come out and say Paul Quinn was not a criminal; she has said that it was best that that would be done around a table.

“Conor Murphy didn’t put a slur on Paul’s name around a table, he did it on national television.

“So, who is the leader of Sinn Fein? Is it Mary Lou McDonald? Or is the IRA?”

The family also thanked the public for sending letters and cards of support from both sides of the border.

“Our campaign continues, we will continue to fight for our son and we are not going away. We will clear his name and ensure that justice is delivered,” Mrs Quinn added.

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Northern Ireland news