GARDAÍ have gone north of the border and conducted “door-to-door” inquiries as part of the investigation into the savage murder of south Armagh man Paul Quinn in Monaghan last October.
The historical development, part of close cooperation between the Gardaí and the PSNI, is thought to have led to the arrest of a number of significant IRA members in south Armagh.
Almost a year since the murder, Paul Quinn’s parents, Stephen and Breege, brother James and sister Cathy, travelled to Dublin to meet Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and TDs. They were accompanied by the Quinn Support Group and SDLP politicians.
Paul Quinn, 21, from Cullyhanna, south Armagh, was brutally beaten to death by a gang of up to 15 people after he was lured to a remote farm in Co Monaghan on October 20, 2007.
SDLP press officer and friend of the Quinn family, Seamus Murphy, said the presence of uniformed gardaí in south Armagh had greatly benefited the murder investigation.
“We would emphasise the positive effect it can have for the Gardaí and the PSNI, seen visibly, literally walking side by side, knocking on doors on the ground in south Armagh, the first time it ever happened.
“I’m quite certain it led to specific evidence coming forward to the Garda investigation,” said Mr Murphy.
Paul’s father, Stephen, praised the Gardaí but said he did not know if they were any closer to a prosecution, despite the 12 arrests to date, six each in the north and south.
Last July, 12 people were arrested, including a senior IRA figure in south Armagh and a second man considered to be a mid-ranking republican with connections to Sinn Féin and the IRA.
Jim McAllister, Quinn Support Group chair, called on Sinn Féin to retract statements claiming Paul was a criminal and to apologise for the hurt caused.
“The arrests by the PSNI and Gardaí did not lean in that direction whatsoever, they lent towards the people being defended by Sinn Féin TDs,” he said.
MP and SDLP MLA member Alasdair McDonnell praised the cooperation across the border.
“The only people who have to be pilloried are the people who murdered Paul and the people who covered up for them.”
Last April the Independent Monitoring Commission found that the IRA organisation did not kill Paul Quinn, but said “local members or former members” of the republican group were involved in his murder.
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