One of the men named in England’s ‘House of Lords’ over the murder of Armagh man Paul Quinn yesterday [Wednesday] challenged his accuser to repeat the claims in public.
Vincent Treanor spoke out after Ulster Unionist ‘Lord’ John Laird claimed he was a south Armagh IRA leader and linked to the killing.
Mr Treanor, from the village Cullyhanna where the murder victim also lived, denied ever being a member of the organisation or having anything to do with Mr Quinn’s death.
“I totally refute the comments of John Laird that I am a local IRA chief,” he said.
Mr Treanor spoke out after the unionist peer used parliamentary privilege to name the men he believed were linked to the murder. It followed comments by the British government’s ‘Independent Monitoring Commission’ that former or current members of the Provisional IRA may have been involved.
The 21-year-old victim died after being beaten on a border farm in County Monaghan last month in an apparent row between cross-border smugglers. Sinn Fein categorically denied republican involvement in the killing.
In a statement issued through Belfast law firm Madden and Finucane, Mr Treanor hit back at the allegations against him.
“I challenge John Laird to state his lies publicly and subject them to challenge through the courts,” he said.
Mr Treanor also insisted there was no row between his son and Mr Quinn before the killing.
“I have lived for 30 years in Cullyhanna and am widely known locally,” he said.
“I have had no involvement in the death of Paul Quinn. I am not and have never been a member of the IRA. I have never been arrested or charged with this or any similar offences.”
Stressing he has nothing to hide, Mr Treanor described the murder as “a horrific crime” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.
“I condemn those who seek to make political points out of this tragic death,” he said.
Sinn Fein Newry/Armagh MP Conor Murphy has dismissed the comments of IMC member John Grieve and John Laird as “wholly political and utterly devoid of fact” and said that if they have any information about the brutal murder of Paul Quinn should bring it forward to the Gardai or PSNI.
“The political bias of John Grieve and Lord Laird will do nothing to secure arrests and convictions for the brutal murder of Paul Quinn,” he said.
“If either of these two men have any real information about the murder they should bring it to the attention of the Gardai or PSNI.
“It is evidence not speculation that is needed to convict the killers of Paul Quinn. Sinn Fein have already said that anyone with information about this murder should bring it forward to allow due process and justice for the Quinn family.”
* Leading republican Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy appeared in a court in Dublin on tax evasion charges this week after a heavy-handed arrest operation in Dundalk last Wednesday.
Murphy, from Hackballscross, on the Louth/Armagh border, received a minor head injury during the Garda police raid.
In March last year up to 400 gardai, PSNI police, British soldiers and customs officials targeted Murphy’s house and other buildings in the area, seizing fuel tankers, computers, cheques and a large amount of cash.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams reacted by describing Murphy as a good republican and that there was no evidence he was a crime boss.
Murphy was released on bail after facing nine charges of failing to file tax returns.