Sinn Fein official taped making allegations in regard to Garda Donohoe and Paul Quinn murders

This is odd. Not sure what to make of it, not least because since it was published on Sunday no one in the mainstream media seems to want to touch it. Under Donal McIntrye’s byline the Sunday World it seems took an interesting briefing from a senior Sinn Fein official

A senior Sinn Fein official has claimed that he knows for a fact that a named notorious republican family were part of the criminal gang behind the killing – and he says they were also responsible for the brutal murder of Paul Quinn in 2007.

Gardai are now anxious to speak to the Sinn Fein press officer who made the extraordinary claims in a recorded conversation with the Sunday World this week.
Mark McLernon, a senior Sinn Fein official in Belfast, told our reporters that Paul Quinn was murdered by the republican family from Crossmaglen after he “lost a diesel lorry” and said that the same family were involved in the murder of Garda Donohoe.

The Sunday World cannot name the family involved for legal reasons, but it is understood that two brothers and a sister were in the original Garda suspect line-up for the assassination of Garda Donohoe at Lordship Credit Union last January.

However, as the murder probe has progressed, officers have moved them to the periphery of the core group of five present during the botched raid.

Now Gardai are anxious to speak to Mr McLernon and any other Sinn Fein officials who may have similar knowledge about the murder, which is the largest homicide investigation in the State since the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.

, ,

  • I can only speak to one of these.
    Two weeks ago, I attended an event on Victims at the West Belfast Fleadh.
    One of the people on the panel was Mrs Quinn. Impossible not to be moved by her testimony and indeed the other contributions from the panel and the audience…on murders committed by republicans, loyalists and State.
    Indeed such raw emotions many years after events in some cases….it all makes the stuff I post completely meaningless. Politicians, Academics, Bloggers…..humbled by people like Mrs Quinn.
    Taking notes that night, I realised it was not a fitting subject for me to blog. Too personal.
    All that can be done is support her and hope she gets the justice she deserves.
    Her story differs from that in the Sunday World.
    What seems beyond doubt i s that her son was beaten to death. Hardly a bone in his body left unbroken. By “fifteen” men with iron.bars.
    If “ordinary” criminals had been involved, Or republicans mainstream or dissident….people will believe what they want to…..but in an area like South Armagh, I would look to the intelligence gathering ability of the men and women who havent gone away you know.
    Unless they have forgotten those skills, it certainly looks like this is something which….at best…..they just wish would go away.
    And we all owe a debt of gratitude to Mrs Quinn for reminding us all….including two police services….that it wont go away.

  • Dixie Elliott

    It seems the SW seen through what Mr McLernon was attempting to do and shafted him…The clue being – “McLernon sought to discredit Paul Quinn ”

    “In two phone conversations, McLernon sought to discredit Paul Quinn by saying his associates had killed Garda Donohoe, despite the fact that Quinn was murdered six years before Garda Donohoe’s death.

    In a later briefing, McLernon claimed that the killers of Quinn were also supporters of the Paul Quinn Justice group and blamed them emphatically for another murder.

    “Look, the XXXXXXXs killed Keith Rogers. Fact. The XXXXXXXs killed Donohoe. Fact. Right,” Mark McLernon said to our reporters this week.

    He stated as “fact” that the same group killed Donohoe and murdered Rogers, but offered no evidence for his claims.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Indeed. I was at a community event held in a community centre in Crossmaglen shortly after Paul Quinn was murdered, intended to allow people to express their opposition to the murder and call for justice. A number of local politicians spoke and details of the murder were revealed by the family, including what you mentioned above. I recall in particular that when they found him his body was like jelly, such was the extent of the beating. The discussion went on to wider matters and some people began complaining about the way the IRA took over houses for periods of time in order to conduct “operations” and were generally abusive towards the locals.

    At the time I recall that Sinn Féin attempted to put the message around that Quinn was a fuel smuggler. The family said that he had been doing a lot of hours as some sort of farm hand, so the notion that he was creaming it in through criminal activity was nonsensical. SF tried to blacken the name of Robert McCartney as well, as I recall.

    Some republicans were in the audience and attempted to divert the discussion by complaining about how no town hall events were held when they were similarly attacked or beaten. At that point the meeting was broken up.

    I suspect most people in that room knew who committed the murder and I wouldn’t be surprised if it matched up with the names mentioned above. But at the end of the day, nobody can be convicted of murder simply on the word of someone else. The police may question this councillor but he’s not likely to repeat it on the witness stand; but even if he did what credibility does he have ? This, sadly, is going to go nowhere.

  • megatron

    this thread should be closed to comments. trying to imagine what a useful / insightful comment would look like here and struggling.

  • Mick Fealty


    “Some republicans were in the audience and attempted to divert the discussion by complaining about how no town hall events were held when they were similarly attacked or beaten. At that point the meeting was broken up.”

    Did the break-up happen naturally, or was there some form of intervention? As for it going nowhere, I take it that that’s a political estimation of the general inertness of SF’s political opponents in NI?

    If one of the party’s press officers had been caught out this way in Dublin, I can think of other political parties in that space which would not let it go of it quite so easily…

  • Mick Fealty

    Ah, the SDLP released this statement from Dominic Bradley yesterday, though the statement is dated from before SW story, ie last week:

    “The efforts of Sinn Féin to deflect responsibility for Paul Quinn’s murder away from the IRA are despicable and only reinforce the belief of the family that the IRA was involved. Not content with their attempt to criminalise Paul Quinn after his horrific murder Sinn Féin now seek to add to that insult by tying Paul Quinn to the murders of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.

    “I believe that there are people in Sinn Féin who know who murdered Paul Quinn but who prefer to stay silent. It is time for the so called leadership in Sinn Féin to use their influence to get to the truth.

    “A good start would be for Sinn Féin to apologise for the lies they have pedalled about Paul Quinn. The late Brian Keenan knew the truth, and if he did, it could be assumed that so do Gerry Adams and Conor Murphy.

    “The Quinn family have suffered enough. They should not have to wait 30 years for an apology.”

  • son of sam

    In as much as he can say,can F J H indicate whether there were many Sinn Fein supporters at that West Belfast event?If there were,did they express any opinions about the Quinn murder?I believe that I’m right in understanding that the event was organised by the S D L P.

  • You are indeed right in saying that the event was organised by SDLP. It was I must emphasise about ALL victims…Mark Thompson from Relatives for Justice was there. Catherine McCartney was there.
    And a very moving contribution from the audience ….a 59 year old man, the only one of five brothers still alive….nearly 40 years ago his then 18 yr old brother was murdered by loyalists…shot dead after being in their hands for 10 hours. Back in 1974 his father now deceased had been promised by RUC “dont worry…we will get the bastards who did this”
    Of course not even HET can get them.
    I make this point to underscore that the event was not solely about victims of Republican violence.
    But of course this thread is at least half about Paul Quinn.

    The audience did have a sprinkling of people who might be identified as SF supporters. Indeed throughout the contributions of Catherine McCartney and Mrs Quinn, I was behind and to the left of two prominent SF people. Indeed I was keenly watching one in particular.
    But he had the good sense not to make a contribution himself. A fellow “republican” began an attempt to express his and republican understanding of Catherines position but she was having none of it. I noticed he was not in the room at a later stage.

    I really dont want to go into much detail. Comrade Stalin at a different venue heard what I heard.
    I just couldnt bring myself to blog about that night because there was absolutely no analysis I could add.

  • gendjinn

    Interesting that everyone is ignoring the fact that the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the Paul Quinn murder years ago.

  • New Yorker


    Do you have a link for that statement?

  • gendjinn,

    First time I have heard that. Are we being given a smoke job?
    Like New Yorker, I would like to see a link too. Otherwise……….

  • Mick Fealty


    Until now, all I’ve ever heard anyone are denials rather than admissions…

  • Dixie Elliott

    gendjinn said…

    “Interesting that everyone is ignoring the fact that the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the Paul Quinn murder years ago.”

    You can’t ignore something that never happened. The Real IRA claimed the killing of Denis Donaldson…

  • gendjinn

    I have to retract my earlier statement.

    Went back to find the Suzanne Breen article from the Sunday Tribune to support the claim and I was thinking of a different murder.


  • New Yorker


    Thanks for clearing that up.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Interesting events in the Cullyhanna area today: totally unrelated to the murder of Paul Quinn, I’m sure.

  • Mick Fealty


    That’s the problem with the press backing off from controversial subjects… People on the outside are left guessing and some on the ground are freer to move under the blanket cover of media darkness…

    For now, we can only file it under the hashtag: #WeirdStuffNoOneKnowsAnythingAbout

    Bit like Conor Murphy’s denial of the original report on the only outlet brave enough to withstand the pressure (but only on SF’s condition that the journalist not be allowed to take part), LMFM:

    It makes for fascinating listening…

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Mick, no dissident action in south Armagh for a few years – and even then, apart from a failed landmine attack in 2009, we’re mostly talking about a few potshots at empty PSNI stations – and then all of a sudden they’re abandoning mortar tubes and phoning local charities to inform them?

    I don’t buy it. Someone obviously wants the PSNI to back off. And funny that this should occur in the Quinn family’s home village.

  • Barnshee

    Produce the tape recording and put it out so we can all hear it.

    It does sound that Murphy is hedging his bets- he is” told “that its not true -its political posturing by the enemies of SF. This leave sthe exit- the SF member gets (temporarily) hubg out to dry and Murphy

  • Barnshee

    (damn windows 8)

    …hung out to dry and Murphy gets to say “I was mislead”

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Mick, as I was saying:

    this is incredibly serious.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    This thread is very thin on shinner/provo apologists.

    “THE Provisional IRA – and not a dissident republican group – was responsible for planting the two mortars near the Border in south Armagh last week, the Sunday Independent has learned”.