01/05/2008

IRA Escapes Blame On Quinn Killing

Despite widespread, cross-border backing of claims by the family of a young man brutally beaten to death last year that the IRA was to blame, the body that monitors paramilitary activity has today said that the republican terror group was not responsible.

Paul Quinn, 21, died after being lured to a cattle shed in Co Monaghan last year and was beaten with iron bars and pick axe handles by a gang of masked men.

His parents said their son had previously been threatened by members of the IRA in south Armagh.

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) has now published its latest report in which it says there was no evidence that the IRA was responsible.

The IMC said the killing was "clearly contrary to the instructions and strategy of the IRA leadership".

It said it was the result of local disputes and some members, or former IRA members, may have been involved.

However, the commission said there was no evidence that the IRA leadership was linked to the incident.

NI Secretary of State Shaun Woodward welcomed the assessment that the IRA remains committed to a political path, and also used the opportunity to call on loyalist paramilitary groups to begin the process of decommissioning weapons.

Sinn Fein has been consistently saying there was no IRA involvement and condemned the murder in public statements, but politicians, including Ulster Unionist peer, Lord Laird, named those responsible and laid the blame for the highly organised murder on the IRA.

Even an IMC spokesman at the time of the killing, John Grieve, linked the death to the IRA, when he said: "We do believe that those who were involved in the attack on him - in his brutal murder - included people who are members or former members or have associations with members or former members of the Provisional IRA."

Lord Laird said: "The IMC, south Armagh residents and numerous commentators all believe PIRA was behind the murder of Paul Quinn," he said at the time, noting that 20 guys in total, eight or nine of them with surgical gloves, getaway cars and a getaway van were involved.

See: Peer Insists Quinn Murder Was IRA

(BMcC)

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