Finance committee tell Conor Murphy Quinn murder row casts doubt on his fitness for office

Breege and Stephen Quinn at their son Paul’s graveside



Stormont’s Finance Committee has told Sinn Fein minister Conor Murphy that his conduct “calls into question” his fitness for office.

The letter sent by committee chair, Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken, raises Mr Murphy’s 2007 comments that IRA murder victim Paul Quinn was a criminal, and the Finance Minister’s “conduct in the intervening period”.

Paul Quinn was beaten to death by members of the IRA

Mr Murphy has withdrawn his slur and has apologised, but is refusing to unambiguously state that the 21-year-old south Armagh man was not a criminal.

The decision to write to the minister was supported by every Finance Committee member bar those from Sinn Fein at a meeting last week. The letter says that the committee has considered the Finance Minister’s comments on the BBC Spotlight programme in November 2007 and “your conduct in the intervening period”.

The scene where Paul Quinn was beaten to death

It asks him to explain why he branded Paul Quinn a criminal and why he “denied the comments for the past 13 years”.

The letter continues: “It is the committee’s view that your conduct calls into question your fitness for office.”

Following Mr Quinn’s murder, Mr Murphy said he had spoken to the IRA, which had told him it wasn’t responsible for the fatal beating.

The committee asks Mr Murphy to “report and provide to the PSNI and An Garda Síochána” any information he may possess relating to “conversations and meetings that you have had” in relation to the Quinn murder.

The proposal to write to Mr Murphy came from Finance Committee deputy chair Paul Frew of the DUP. It was supported by three unionist MLAs and the SDLP’s Pat Catney. The three Sinn Fein members – Sean Lynch, Jemma Dolan, and Maolíosa McHugh – opposed it.

The committee also voted to write to the Quinn family commending their “courage and tenacity in seeking justice for their son” and “conveying the committee’s dismay and condemnation of the minister’s behaviour”.

The proposal from TUV leader Jim Allister was carried despite the three Sinn Fein MLAs voting against it. Their amendment to the proposal – removing condemnation of Mr Murphy’s behaviour – was defeated.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: “When Conor Murphy took up the post of Finance Minister only weeks ago, nearly all of these parties wished him well and supported him in the role.

“And now, over the last week, they have developed serious considerations about his place in office over remarks made 13 years ago.

“Conor has written to the family, unreservedly withdrawn his remarks and apologised and he continues to carry out the important task of Finance Minister,” he said.

Meanwhile, Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty has written to Mr Murphy demanding that he publicly state that Paul Quinn wasn’t a criminal. Mr McNulty has also asked Mr Murphy to provide the names of the IRA members he spoke to following the murder.

“You will be aware of the importance Stephen and Breege (Quinn) have placed on you clearing Paul’s name along with their quest for justice, peace and a sense of closure. I implore you to listen to the pleas of the Quinn family,” Mr McNulty wrote.

The SDLP MLA last night said: “Paul Quinn was murdered by cowards. The actions of those cowards have been covered up by cowards.

“Breege and Stephen and Paul’s brother and sister, James and Cathy, have been unwavering in their campaign for truth and justice for 13 years and they will endure until justice is done.”

Mr McNulty asked why the Finance Minister had branded “a murdered man a criminal in the first place” when he now said he had no evidence to do so.

The SDLP MLA appealed to Mr Murphy to unambiguously state that Paul Quinn wasn’t a criminal.

“Whilst Conor’s apology after 13 years is welcome, he now needs to go the final step and clear Paul’s name,” he added.

Mr Quinn was beaten to death in a barn in Oram, Co Monaghan, by an IRA gang.

The Cullyhanna man had previously clashed with the local IRA commander’s son.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Suzanne Breen for the original story 

DUP MP and Shame Féin MLA trade insults

THE DUP’s Sammy Wilson and Shame Féin’s John O’Dowd clashed online after the unionist MP described the republican party as “pretty useless” in government.

“Catholics are sub-humans” – “Gays are perverts” DUP MP Sammy Wilson

Mr Wilson was reacting to the surge in support for Sinn Féin in the Republic’s general election, which could see party president Mary Lou McDonald become the next Taoiseach. The East Antrim MP said on Twitter: “Sinn Féin are a good party of opposition where they can make all sorts of promises which bear no resemblance to reality, but are pretty useless party of government as we have learned over a number of years at Stormont.”

Big John, Big John… Big Bad John

Mr Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesperson, served in Stormont’s power-sharing executive alongside Sinn Féin from 2008 to 2013 as environment minister and finance minister. His comments prompted a critical response from Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd (pictured above), who was Stormont education minister from 2011 to 2016. Mr O’Dowd replied on Twitter, accusing Mr Wilson of being “central to the collapse of the assembly and failed attempts to restore it”.

MP Nigel Dodds and DUP leader Arlene Foster Nigel Dodds lost his Westminster seat to Sinn Féin

“He was central to the DUP’s disastrous Brexit strategy in Westminster which cost his party two seats and a fall from power. He now wants to destabilise the current assembly,” he said. The Shame Féin MLA branded Mr Wilson a “wrecker”, adding: “We need builders.” Mr Wilson was not part of the Stormont executive when it collapsed for about three years from early 2017 in the wake of the RHI scandal. He was among the DUP Mps who propped up former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority Conservative  government in a confidence-and-supply deal.

The DUP had pushed for the North of Ireland to leave the EU on the same terms as Britain, but found itself cast aside as Mrs May’s successor Boris Johnson agreed a Brext deal which aligns the North of Ireland with EU rules.

With many thanks to the: Irish News and Brendan Hughes for the original

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Sinn Féin’s deliverance of services in the North of Ireland in question

DUP and Sinn Féin couldn’t run a corner shop let alone a government!

Yet they complain about the House of Chaos across the water… Maybe they should get our own House of Complacency in order 1st… #Hypocrisy #Stormont

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Delayed capital projects ‘run millions over budget’
Robert Tressell
Replying to
DUP & SF couldn’t run a corner shop let alone a govt! Political Power should be an ability to effect change in the interests of the people. This Duopoly simply operated, almost exclusively, to retain their political power, rewarding cronyism & nepotism. Incompetent and incapable
11:27 AM · Dec 19, 2019Twitter for iPhone
Replying to
It was great in the olden days when 1st + deputy 1st didn’t even talk to each other and ex collapsed on a number of occasions. But don’t let political bias get in the way of a good rant.
As in your own political bias ? DUP and SF are responsible for the current political crisis in health, education etc here…they abdicated their responsibilities….dress it up, spin it and sugarcoat it anyway you like but those are facts.