Breege Quinn Drivetime RTÉ Radio One 3 February 2020

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RTÉ Radio One
Drivetime

Mary Wilson speaks to Breege Quinn via telephone from her home in Cullyhanna, Co. Armagh about her quest for justice for her son, Paul, who was brutally murdered in 2007.

(begins) Mary:  In 2007, twenty-one year old Paul Quinn from Cullyhanna in Co. Armagh was murdered in a shed in Co. Monaghan. Nobody has ever been brought to justice for his murder. This weekend Paul’s murder was raised during coverage of the General Election. Now in a moment I’m going to speak to Paul’s mother, Breege. But first, let’s have a listen to Lynn Boylan, the former Sinn Féin MEP (Member of European Parliament), speaking to Brendan O’Connor yesterday about Paul’s murder:

Audio:

Brendan: In the case of Paul Quinn: His mother, Breege, wants answers. Is that a political football or is that a woman who lost her son in awful circumstances and who feels that the Sinn Féin person who is now the Minister for Finance in Northern Ireland said that her son was involved in – that it was gang warfare. Was it? And it has upset that woman for a decade.

Lynn Boylan: And Sinn Féin has condemned the killing of Paul Quinn.

Brendan: Has that statement been retracted? Ever? Because they made a suggestion…

Lynn Boylan: Well Brendan, what I’m saying is: It’s not respectful to families to drag their relatives up every time there is an election.

Brendan: Now Lynn, just let me say: Is it not disrespectful of that woman not to give her the peace of mind she wants to say that your son was not involved in gangland?

Lynn Boylan: What I’m saying is that it’s not respectful to anybody to get into picking one victim or one family because this is what has happened with the peace process in The North is that it’s only about when it’s used to attack Sinn Féin as opposed to actually genuinely really wanting to bringing about easing the hurt of anybody who has lost loved ones during the conflict in The North.

Mary:  And that’s the former Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan talking to Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio One yesterday. Breege Quinn, mother of Paul Quinn, Good Afternoon to you and thank you very much for joining us.

Breege:  Good Afternoon, Mary. Thank you for taking my call.

Mary:  You were listening to that interview, to that exchange yesterday. What was your reaction?

Breege: 

Breege & Stephen Quinn
Photo: The Sun

I was absolutely disgusted with her. She was saying that me or people like me only come out and attack Sinn Féin when there is an election on. But I would like to tell her my son will be murdered thirteen years coming. I fight for justice day in, day out for Paul. Not only when there is an election.

Mary:  I know Lynn Boylan said, she said ‘it’s not respectful to families’, I think they were the words she used, to drag their relatives up every time that there is an election. But it was those words that really hurt you.

Breege:  Yes. It was those words that… – that it’s ‘not respectful’. Mary, it doesn’t matter who brings Paul’s name up to me and my husband and my family. When people bring Paul’s name up in any way that will help to bring us justice we appreciate it very much. I would like to say it to Lynn Boylan about Sinn Féin and my son’s murder: My son was beaten and he was unrecognisable. He was twenty-one years of age. How in the Name of God does she think that I, and people like me, would only attack Sinn Féin when there is an election on?

Mary:  Breege, after you son’s death- and we’re going back now after his murder in 2007 – there was a claim made that your son, Paul, was involved in criminality. Was he involved in criminality?

Breege: 

Paul Quinn
Photo: The Belfast Telegraph

My son definitely not involved in criminality – that was Sinn Fein’s spin, that was Conor Murphy’s spin – we have asked him and we have asked Mary Lou (McDonald) to ask him to apologise to us publicly, to tell us who the people were that he spoke to in Cullyhanna because he said he spoke to the IRA in Cullyhanna and they assured him they did not not murder Paul Quinn.

Mary:  Breege, can I ask you: Why do you think that these men – and your son was beaten with bars, with iron bars, by up to ten men – there were maybe nine others acting as look-outs – why do you think these men are being protected?

Breege:   Because Sinn Féin always protects their own. As I said before about asking Mary Lou to ask Conor Murphy she said that she would ask Conor Murphy to do and say what would bring comfort to the Quinn Family.

Mary:  We can hear what Mary Lou McDonald said. She was speaking on the Michael Reade Show on LMFM. Stay with me, Breege, while we just play a clip of what she said and she was asked if Conor Murphy would retract his remarks. Let’s have a listen:

Audio:

Mary Lou McDonald: I will ask Conor Murphy to say and to do things that give confidence and comfort to the Quinn Family as I would expect of any of our elected reps.

Mary:  Now Breege, since Mary Lou McDonald made those comments on LMFM have you had contact from her?

Breege:  No.

Mary:  Have you had any contact from Conor Murphy?

Breege:  Not from her. Not from Conor Murphy.

Mary:  And have you ever had a face-to-face meeting with Mary Lou McDonald or Conor Murphy?

Breege:  No. No.

Mary:  Did you seek them?

Breege:  No. Until Conor Murphy comes out publicly – because he came out publicly and called Paul a criminal on national television. I want him to come back out on national television and to apologise to us and I want Mary Lou to make sure – she is the leader – that he does it and…

Mary:  …Your son was beaten to death because of, it’s believed, a row with the son of a senior IRA figure.

Suzanne Breen reports
The Sunday Tribune
28 October 2007

Breege:  Yes.

Mary:  Do you know the men or do you believe you know the men who killed you son?

Breege:  I do, yes. And that young lad that fought with Paul and Paul fought with him, as I’ve often said it, if they had’ve left the children alone they’d probably be friends today.

Mary:  And Breege, you know these men. Do you still meet them? Do you meet them as you go about your daily life around Cullyhanna in Co. Armagh?

Breege:  Yes. (inaudible)

Mary:  Have you ever looked them in the eye and asked them, accused them?

Breege:  I did. I did say a few times: I hope you sleep in your bed at night but I would never, never get into a bickering argument with them because I wouldn’t know myself – Sinn Féin can have those murderers in court and in prison. I’ve said and said again: I don’t want them taken to a barn and murdered and beaten up but I do want them in prison. Their parents, their brothers, their sisters can go and visit them – but we can’t visit Paul. And I am saying this evening to people that are going out to vote on Saturday and unless Conor Murphy or Mary Lou McDonald come out publicly and tell us who the IRA were that Conor Murphy spoke to, I’m saying to the people: Remember Paul Quinn when you are marking your ‘x’.

Mary:  And that was Breege Quinn, mother of Paul Quinn, speaking to me earlier. Now we asked Sinn Féin to provide a spokesperson this evening; nobody was made available. But the party sent us this statement:

Sinn Féin has unreservedly and consistently condemned the murder of Paul Quinn. The family of Paul Quinn deserve justice and anyone with information on his murder should bring it forward to the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) or An Garda Síochána.  

(ends)