Irish Republican News · May 13, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: McCartneys allege fresh threats
McCartneys allege fresh threats

The family of Robert McCartney say they have been warned of threats from criminal elements to have them “burnt out” of their homes and business.

Catherine McCartney said she and her four sisters Paula, Gemma, Claire, Donna were told of the threat by the PSNI police. The six women are involved in a high-profile campaign to secure prosecutions against former members of the Provisional IRA they allege were responsible for the death of their brother.

Robert McCartney died in a knife-fight outside a Belfast bar in January. Ms McCartney said the family were not going to be deterred from their justice campaign.

“We are told they are coming from criminal elements but we would like to know exactly what that means.”

Three McCartney sisters - Gemma, Paula and Catherine - visited the European Parliament earlier this week to drum up support and funding for their campaign.

Hardline unionist MEP Jim Allister backed what he called the “remarkable bravery” of the McCartney sisters. Protected by parliamentary privilege, he named three men who he called on to tell what they knew of the “horrific events in the alleyway”.

The motion, backed by more than 600 MEPs, although not the two Sinn Féin members, condemned “violence and criminality by the self-styled Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland, in particular the murder of Robert McCartney”.

Sinn Féin MEPs Bairbre de Brun and Mary Lou McDonald on Tuesday supported an alternative resolution supporting the McCartney family’s campaign for justice, although that motion was rejected by the parliament.

Ms de Brun said Sinn Féin supported the McCartney family’s demand for those responsible for Robert’s murder to face trial “and we will continue to do all that we can to help them.

“Our party has met with the McCartney family a number of times. I met them when they visited the Parliament in Brussels a few weeks ago. I have pledged them my support and the support of this party.

“Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called on those responsible to come forward and admit their responsibility for this horrendous murder. They have refused.”

Mr Adams today “condemned unequivocally and without qualification or reservation” any threats made against the McCartney family.

“I am confident that there are no threats to this family from republicans. The recent election results were a clear endorsement of Sinn Féin’s stand in support of the family and we remain totally behind their objective of having the men responsible for the murder of Robert McCartney brought to court and held to account for their actions.”

The Sinn Féin leader was critical of the PSNI handling of the murder enquiry. He said:

“I have been told that key eye witness testimony has been given to the PSNI identifying those involved in the assault in the street in which Robert McCartney was murdered. In any other high profile murder case, in any other city, I’m sure matters would have been investigated more thoroughly and with more urgency.”

© 2005 Irish Republican News