Wednesday, January 30, 2008

IRA threat to key witness denied

Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy has denied a potential witness to the murder of Armagh man Paul Quinn is under threat from the IRA.

Mr Quinn, 21, from Cullyhanna, died after being attacked and beaten at a shed near Castleblaney in October.

His father, Stephen, said the family were worried about a threat against the witness. SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley said the IRA was responsible.

However, Mr Murphy said mainstream republicans were not involved.

"More than two weeks ago, the police visited this family. We made contact with this young man's family. We became aware that the threat to him didn't pertain from any organisation whatsoever," Mr Murphy said.

"There was no organisation specified by the PSNI. We offer our full support to the family."

Mr Quinn was attack in a remote shed near Castleblaney
Mr Quinn was attack in a remote shed near Castleblaney

Paul Quinn was taken to remote outbuildings about five miles outside Newtownhamilton where he was attacked by a gang of men.

His family said he was abducted and killed by the IRA because he refused to leave the country. Sinn Fein has denied any republican involvement.

However, Mr Bradley, an MLA for South Armagh, said he believed those involved in the organisation were behind a death threat to a young witness.

Mr Bradley said the police visited the witness last week to warn him he was in danger.

"Only people with a vested interest in threatening this man's life... are those who are responsible for Paul's Quinn's murder," he said.

"This young man has been through huge trauma. A threat like this only adds greatly to that trauma.

"It is meant to say to people in the area, to give them the message not to co-operate with the investigation. So it is blatant intimidation."

Paul's father said he was worried about the young man's safety.

"He was with Paul that evening. It was an awful experience for him to be with Paul," said Stephen Quinn.

"I'd say he's very scared since, and now to get this sort of a thing, it's another awful blow to him."

The police would not comment about the alleged threats.

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