“If the IRA were corporately involved in this murder..”

From the Irish Times front page report today, on the investigation into the death of Paul Quinn in County Monaghan

Gardaí believe that a man beaten to death in County Monaghan at the weekend was attacked because he had recently been involved in altercations with a known republican in south Armagh and the son of another republican figure from the area.

And, with former Irish Labour Party Leader, Pat Rabitte, warning of a major political fallout if there was any involvement by the Provisionals, it’s worth looking at a couple of statements in particular. Firstly from DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson in this BBC report

“If the IRA were corporately involved in this murder, that may mean that the executive is finished in its current form.” [added emphasis]

The other quote to note is in the same report, and comes from the NI Regional Development minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy.

In contrast to his statement noted yesterday, and repeated in this Irish Times report [subs req], that

“I do not believe that there is any republican involvement in this murder.”

The latest statement from Conor Murphy is

“I am confident that republicans who have been assiduously working on that project – to try and develop a proper and accountable policing service – are not engaged in any other type of activity whatsoever.” [added emphasis]

Meanwhile independent MEP, Jim Allister, has also commented [subs req]

Independent unionist MEP Jim Allister, who resigned from the DUP in March over the decision to share power at Stormont with Sinn Féin, said the Quinn family’s claims about IRA involvement could not be overlooked.

“The suggestion that the IRA killed Paul Quinn requires absolute clarity from the PSNI and the gardaí, with no phoney distinctions being made between ‘organisational acts’ and actions by individual IRA members,” he said.

And from that same report, the SDLP’s Dominic Bradley, MLA, is reported to have linked two other assaults in the area to the Provisional IRA

“The community in Monaghan and south Armagh must work with An Garda Síochána and the PSNI by giving them the information they need to bring these people to justice,” he said.

He believed that the dead man had been threatened by local Provisionals in south Armagh and that the IRA had also been responsible for severe beatings of at least two other individuals in the area.

Adds Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, on Radio Ulster’s TalkBack today stated

“It will not emerge that the IRA was involved.”

Asked earlier in the interview why he was so certain that no republicans were involved “in any way whatsoever” he replied

“I have talked to one or two people in the area.”

And from the BBC’s Mark Devenport’s blog

Conor Murphy says he’s convinced republicans weren’t involved. But his former colleague Jim McAllister says Conor should have talked to Mr Quinn’s family before sounding so certain.

On the one hand the DUP will argue that they must await the evidence before jumping to conclusions. On the other, those of us who covered the murders perpetrated by IRA fronts like “Direct Action Against Drugs” know how reluctant the authorities can be in declaring clearly that the IRA sanctioned a particular crime when it is not politically expedient to make such a statement.