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Ó Caoláin calls for information in relation to Quinn murder to be brought to Gardaí or PSNI

7 February, 2008


Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD offered his continuing sympathy to the family of Paul Quinn who was brutally murdered in Deputy Ó Caoláin's constituency of Monaghan last October. Deputy Ó Caoláin called on anyone with any information on the murder to bring it without delay to the Gardaí or the PSNI so that the criminals responsible for the murder can be brought to justice.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "I begin by extending my continuing sympathy and that of Sinn Féin to the family of Paul Quinn. Their grief at the loss of their loved one was compounded by the horrendous manner in which Paul was done to death.

"The brutal murder took place in my own constituency, in my home County of Monaghan, at Oram last October. It shocked and sickened people in the Border Counties and throughout Ireland. As I stated at the time, as soon as the murder became known it sent shockwaves through our communities. It was a despicable act of brutality and murder carried out by people who deserve only the contempt and the condemnation of society.

Full text of Deputy Ó Caoláin's speech follows:

Statements on the murder of Paul Quinn 6.2.08

I begin by extending my continuing sympathy and that of Sinn Féin to the family of Paul Quinn. Their grief at the loss of their loved one was compounded by the horrendous manner in which Paul was done to death.

The brutal murder took place in my own constituency, in my home County of Monaghan, at Oram last October. It shocked and sickened people in the Border Counties and throughout Ireland. As I stated at the time, as soon as the murder became known it sent shockwaves through our communities. It was a despicable act of brutality and murder carried out by people who deserve only the contempt and the condemnation of society.

For a group of men to lure a man in such a way and then to beat him mercilessly until he died is to be deplored in any circumstances, at any time and wherever it occurs.

I reiterate here again what I and other Sinn Féin representatives stated at the time and have stated many times since and that is for anyone who has any information related to this murder, no matter how small or insignificant they think it may be, to pass it on without delay to the Gardai or the PSNI. There should be nowhere for the criminals responsible for this murder to hide. And they are criminals because they committed a criminal act of murder.

I have seen no evidence that would link this crime to republicans but regrettably such claims have been made and continue to be made. I do not accept such claims.

And I have to emphasise in the strongest terms that it would be totally irrelevant if any of these criminals claimed at any time to be associated with republicanism. The reality is that this act of murder criminalizes anyone who took part in it irrespective of what politics they hold or may have held. The perpetrators are criminal murderers and that is the bottom line. I can be no clearer than that.

There have been attempts to taint Irish republicanism with this crime and to taint the people of South Armagh. But the only people tainted and stained and shamed by this murder are those individuals who carried it out and anyone else who may have assisted in it.

As I stated here in the Dáil on 18 December there has been a tendency on the part of some to determine responsibility. I caution Members against jumping to conclusions. The family has a view, as do others who are articulating their view. It is only through the respective police authorities North and South that the truth can be established and the full rigours of the law can be brought to bear on the event. And that is what we want to see. We want to see those responsible for the murder of Paul Quinn apprehended, brought before a court of law, convicted and sentenced for their crime.

The question has been raised as to whether the victim of this murder, Paul Quinn, may or may not have at any time been involved in criminal activity. Again, as I have said before, that has no bearing whatsoever on the heinousness of the crime of murder that was committed against him.

What happened to him was an absolute outrage and I want to make that very clear again as I did last December for fear that there would be some sense of difference promoted in relation to whether he had or had not been so involved. I did not know Paul Quinn or know of him. I do not know the facts of his life's story. Irrespective of the full facts, and they may reveal themselves in time, it is absolutely imperative that it is stated loudly and clearly that what happened was an outrage and a crime and absolutely indefensible.

I appeal to all who genuinely seek and support truth and justice for the Quinn family not to compound this family's distress by fuelling by actions or words, the destructive efforts of those who have already pointed the finger of blame at innocent members of the community in Cullyhanna and beyond and who have engaged in misguided and misdirected acts of retribution against the same innocent people. This must stop.

There is no ambiguity whatsoever in the Sinn Féin position on the murder of Paul Quinn as I hope I have made clear here today. Sadly and predictably some of the siren voices we are so used to hearing and others of more recent vintage have attempted to use this murder to feed their politically motivated antipathy to Sinn Féin. That is of no service to the Quinn family or to the pursuit of the murderers of Paul Quinn. It serves only as a distraction and for that reason I will not elaborate on it here.

Instead I will conclude by urging anyone with any information on this murder to come forward with it and to assist the Gardai and the PSNI in their pursuit of the killers. And finally, I again extend deepest sympathy to the parents and family of Paul Quinn.

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