Sinn Féin Stormont minister Conor Murphy has apologised to the family of murder victim Paul Quinn for comments he made 13 years ago after the young man’s death.
In response to an election-linked controversy over the remark he made on a BBC news programme in 2007, Mr Murphy released a statement to express regret and acknowledge that he had “added to the grief felt by the Quinn family”.
Mr Murphy was one of a number of politicians and organisations, including the Gardaí and PSNI police, who alleged Mr Quinn was involved in criminality when he was brutally killed by a gang of men in County Monaghan. No justification for that allegation has ever been presented.
His murder is believed to have been the outcome of a personal dispute, and was not connected to smuggling or any other illegal activity. Former members of the Provisional IRA were alleged to have been involved in the dispute and in the attack on Mr Quinn.
The Newry and Armagh assembly member said he withdrew the comments he made in the interview and apologised for them and offered to meet the family.
“I have consistently and unreservedly condemned the murder of Paul Quinn,” he said.
“Those who murdered him are criminals and need to be brought to justice. I repeat my call on anyone with any information on his murder to bring it to the Gardaí or the PSNI.
“I very much regret comments I made in the aftermath of Paul’s murder which have added to the grief felt by the Quinn family.
“I apologise for those remarks and I unreservedly withdraw them. Once again I offer to meet the Quinn family at a time and place of their convenience.”
The parents of Mr Quinn accepted the apology, but they also demanded that Mr Murphy provide “IRA names” of those they believe were involved in the attack.
The South Armagh woman said she and her husband regretted that it had taken “13 years of pain and election pressures for the apology to come”.
Mrs Quinn also rejected claims she was speaking out as part of a political agenda.
“We’ve been accused of coming out looking for justice because there is an election on - I’ve been fighting for justice for Paul for 13 years regardless whether there is an election or not,” she said.