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Conor Murphy again refuses to state that Paul Quinn was not a criminal

Quinn’s mother Breege has repeatedly called for the Sinn Féin MLA to publicly state that her son, who was murdered in 2007, was not a criminal.

Paul Quinn
Paul Quinn
Image: PA Images

SINN FÉIN MLA Conor Murphy has again refused to state publicly that murdered south Armagh man Paul Quinn was not a criminal.

Northern Ireland’s finance minister has been under pressure to make the public statement after retracting a claim he made 13 years ago that Quinn had been involved in criminality.

Quinn’s mother Breege has repeatedly called for Murphy to say publicly that her son was not a criminal, saying the slur on his name has compounded her family’s grief.

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 Féin has long denied republican involvement.

The killing became one of the talking points of the Irish general election as Quinn’s mother called for the former Newry and Armagh MP to be removed from his post as a minister over the comments.

Sinn Fáin faced criticism from political rivals over its response to the killing.

9125d9d0-52be-4d86-b9f7-858bc9d2e7a3 Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy Source: PA Images

Murphy was urged by Ulster Unionist MLA Robbie Butler and TUV leader Jim Allister during a Stormont Assembly sitting on 10 February to make a public apology to the Quinn family.

He responded then: “I made a statement last week and I have written to that family.”

Yesterday, as he appeared at his first press conference at Stormont since the row, Murphy refused to publicly state Quinn was not a criminal.

“I made a statement in relation to that, I have written to the family and my offer to meet the family remains, I am happy to meet them at any time,” he said.

Breege Quinn has said she will not meet Murphy until he publicly states her son was not a criminal.

When pressed by the PA news agency, Murphy added: “I made a statement, I am content to meet the family at any time and discuss these matters with them.”

In a statement issued earlier this month, Murphy apologised for his previous remarks and “unreservedly” withdrew them.

The MLA said he had “consistently and unreservedly condemned” Quinn’s murder.

“Those who murdered him are criminals and need to be brought to justice. I repeat my call on anyone with any information on his murder to bring it to the Gardaí or the PSNI.

“I very much regret comments I made in the aftermath of Paul’s murder which have added to the grief felt by the Quinn family,” the statement noted.

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