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Breege Quinn: 'Sinn Féin have put me through hell'

Breege Quinn listens to Conor Murphy apologising for his comments Credit: Pacemaker

The mother of a Co Armagh man murdered 13 years ago has said she had been through hell.

21 year-old Mr Quinn was taken across the Irish border and beaten to death in Co Monaghan in 2007.

Paul Quinn's mother Breege is holding talks with political parties at Stormont on Monday and said she hoped to meet Sinn Féin finance minister Conor Murphy.

She and her husband Stephen visited Stormont on Monday to meet politicians including the SDLP and Ulster Unionists.

Conor Murphy does not have a mandate to criminalise people he is supposed to represent. He does not have a mandate to call our son a criminal.

We are once again calling on him today to say the simple words that Paul Quinn was not a criminal.

– Breege Quinn
Paul Quinn was murdered by the IRA in 2007 Credit: Family photo

His mother maintains that the IRA was behind the killing but Sinn Fein has denied this.

Mr Murphy has withdrawn comments made soon after the killing claiming that her son was a criminal.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill addressed Conor Murphy's comments in Stormont Credit: UTV

Sinn Fein's deputy first minister at the Stormont Assembly, Michelle O'Neill, said Mr Murphy's apology had been "heartfelt and sincere".

She said: "We are talking about a mother who has been hurt.

"The best place and the best way for this to be dealt with is on a one-to-one basis and Conor Murphy is very happy to meet with Breege Quinn."

Ms Quinn said Mr Murphy did not say in recent comments that her son was not a criminal.

Mr Murphy said he spoke to the IRA in South Armagh about the killing.

Ms Quinn asserted: "He must also go to the PSNI and the gardai to give the names of the IRA men he spoke to in Cullyhanna.

"He must stop providing political cover for murderers."

He says now he is sorry for saying those words, he knew the day that he said them that they were lies.

He has held that lie for 13 years and put our family through hell.

– Breege Quinn

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

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

Conor Murphy has said he will not step down from his position as Finance Minister Credit: UTV

Mr Murphy apologised for the remarks while Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald spoke to Mrs Quinn in a telephone call.

On Monday, Ms Quinn said: "It must not be okay for any elected representative to call anyone a criminal and be rewarded with ministerial office time and time again.

"It should not be okay for a minister to seek assurance about a crime from a paramilitary group that has supposedly gone away."

She added: "I hope Conor Murphy is listening so that we can move attention back to the men who killed our son Paul and who are walking freely around Cullyhanna and Crossmaglen while our son is buried in the ground."

Sinn Féin leader Ms McDonald said the investigation by the PSNI and Garda into the murder of Mr Quinn is ongoing and there is no suggestion Mr Murphy has not disclosed information on his murder.

"The PSNI and the Gardai are perfectly capable of seeking out and speaking to any individual that they need to speak to. They don't need my prompting or anyone else's.

"Conor has made it plain that he did speak with the police and authorities at the time of this awful murder and I think it's important to say this. There is no suggestion of an involvement by Conor covering up for anything."

Watch Jordan Moates' report here: