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Haas urged to hear ‘Victims of Peace’

December 2, 2013

by Christine Keighery

The Paul Quinn Support Group have urged the Haas/O’Sullivan panel to take the views of the group into consideration as the American diplomat team prepares to form a consensus on dealing with the past conflict.

The support group, which formed in the wake of the murder of 21 year old Cullyhanna man Paul Quinn in October 2007, believe the ‘Victims of Peace’ should be heard along with those of all other victims of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

The group are particularly concerned that “they should not be silenced or ignored because what they have to say may be politically awkward for some.”

Paul Quinn suffered a brutal murder after being lured to a cattle shed just across the border near Oram in County Monaghan.  Having been led there along with a friend on the pretext of work, the two were confronted by a gang of up to 15 masked men wielding iron bars.  Paul was separated from his friend and savagely beaten by the gang. Every major bone in his body was broken in the attack and he died hours later in hospital in Drogheda.

We would be grateful if you would take our views into consideration in your deliberations on dealing with the past.

Séamus Bellew,  Chairman of the Quinn Support Group, along with Paul’s parents, Breege and Stephen Quinn are appealing for the Haas committee to look at the dominant issue of unsolved murders perpetrated after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

“Although the murder took place immediately across the border in County Monaghan, both An Garda Síochána and the PSNI made it clear at the time that the murder was organised and directed from within Northern Ireland” the submission reads,

“Since the murder, the family and its support group, mainly comprising Paul’s friends and neighbours, have campaigned vigorously to have those responsible for his killing brought to justice.

“However, as the debate on victims and dealing with the past has developed, we are increasingly aware that we are also, in effect, a victims group.  We have had a degree of contact with families of people killed in broadly similar circumstances, particularly those who died after the two ceasefires and after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

“There is deep concern among these families, as there is within our own group, that the voices of those killed after the conclusion of large-scale or widespread violence – whom we think of as ‘Victims of the Peace’ – should be heard along with those of all other victims. There is a particular concern that they should not be silenced or ignored because what they have to say may be politically awkward for some.

“We would be grateful if you would take our views into consideration in your deliberations on dealing with the past.”

US Envoy, Richard Haas and his team are due back in Northern Ireland this week to further their progress with the five Executive parties, with a conclusion anticipated in the coming weeks.

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