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Mother of Paul Quinn seeks public statement from Sinn Féin MLA that her son was not a criminal

Breege Quinn made the request during a phone call with Mary Lou McDonald this evening.

Stephen and Breege Quinn at the graveside of their murdered son Paul Quinn
Stephen and Breege Quinn at the graveside of their murdered son Paul Quinn
Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

BREEGE QUINN HAS asked Mary Lou McDonald to get a Sinn Féin MLA who previously suggested her murdered son was involved in criminality to make a public statement that he was not.

She made the request during a 15-minute phone call with the Sinn Féin leader this evening, following days of controversy surrounding remarks by Conor Murphy.

Paul Quinn from Cullyhanna in Co Armagh was beaten to death by a gang of around a dozen men in a farm shed near Castleblayney in Co Monaghan in 2007.

A month after his killing, Murphy, a Sinn Féin representative for Newry and Armagh, claimed the 21-year-old had been involved in “smuggling and criminality”.

The comments came to light again this week, after McDonald was questioned about them in two appearances on RTÉ ahead of Saturday’s general election.

Murphy apologised for his remarks last night, telling RTÉ that he was sorry that they had added to the Quinn family’s grief in the aftermath of Paul’s murder.

This evening, Breege Quinn told Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1 that she thanked McDonald for publicly saying her son was not a criminal, but asked the Sinn Féin leader to get Murphy to do the same.

“Conor Murphy said he apologised for the hurt he caused us, but he has not said that Paul was not a criminal,” she said.

“I have asked her to ask him to say those words publicly. She said she would speak to him. I asked him if she would ask him to say those words – that’s what we want to hear.”

Breege Quinn also revealed that McDonald had offered to sit down with her and Murphy to discuss the issue.

But she said she did not want to until Murphy had issued a public statement saying her son was not a criminal.

“I said ‘You are a mother. If your son was called a criminal, would you like me want those words lifted?’

“And she said yes, she would… but she did not say no matter how many times I asked her, if she would ask him to say that Paul Quinn was not a criminal.”

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