17/12/2007

Ahern Meets Cullyhanna Murder Victim's Family

Relatives of the young south Armagh man beaten to death in a border farm shed in October have been meeting the Irish Foreign Minister.

The parents and other family members of murdered Cullyhanna 21-year-old Paul Quinn spoke at length to the Minister, Dermot Ahern.

The meeting at Mr Ahern's constituency office in Dundalk focused on the gardaí investigation into the murder and the family's distress at allegations of criminality made against their son.

He was beaten to death just across the Irish border from his home in a shed in County Monaghan in October.

His family insist that IRA members were involved in the highly organised operation.

Later, Briege Quinn said Mr Ahern told them the Irish government does not believe her son was a criminal as has been alleged.

She said: "Once we got over the shock of Paul's death, nothing has caused us more hurt and pain than these allegations."

Mrs Quinn said Mr Ahern's remarks had "lifted a great weight from our shoulders".

Mr Quinn's family said the IRA killed the 21-year-old after he had defied an order to leave the country.

However, Sinn Fein denies any republican involvement and to date, no one has been charged with the murder.

Lord John Laird, the Ulster Unionists peer recently used parliamentary privilege to name those he believed to be involved and to insist this was a well organised, military-style operation involving up to 20 people, including those acting as look-outs and as drivers and people who disposed of the iron bars used to brutally kill the young man in a vicious, prolonged attack.

The family members were accompanied at today's meeting by SDLP Newry and Armagh Assembly Member, Dominic Bradley.

This is the latest phase in the family's campaign for justice.

Last week, more than 300 people attended a meeting in south Armagh in support of the Quinn family – a meeting that turned nasty when Sinn Fein supporters accused the family of using the issue for political purposes.

(BMcC)

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