Irish Republican News · February 23, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McCartney family impatient for statements, prosecutions

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams has repeated calls for witnesses with information on the killing of Robert McCartney to go to the PSNI police or any other respected authority.

He said: “I want anybody who can help the McCartney family to help them. Sinn Féin is totally opposed to what happened to the McCartney family.”

Robert McCartney, from the nationalist Short Strand in east Belfast, was stabbed to death in a bar-room brawl earlier this month.

Mr McCartney’s family believes individual members of the Provisional IRA were involved in the murder and in subsequent attempts to frustrate the PSNI inquiry through the intimidation of witnesses.

The case has become highly politicised amid a wave of anti-republican propoganda. Labour party leader Pat Rabbitte said today that Sinn Féin should “instruct its members to turn in the killers”.

Efforts by republicans to secure justice in the case have been ignored or condemned as insincere.

Last week the McCartney family welcomed an IRA statement which said that no obstacle should be placed in the way of attempts to achieve justice in the case -- but have since questioned the IRA’s intentions.

The family alleges that some witnesses are still too fearful to make a statement. There is traditional hostility in the republican stronghold to the British Crown forces. It is not known how many have come forward so far.

The family members met with the Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for about 30 minutes at the Dublin parliament this morning.

After the meeting, Mr Ahern urged anyone with any information on Mr McCartney’s murder to contact the police.

“The patriotic thing is to come forward to the authorities, who are the PSNI,” he said.

“I would appeal to anyone who has information to come forward to the PSNI and give that evidence in such a way that the perpetrators of this murder would be apprehended.”

Mr McCartney’s sister, Paula McCartney, said people were afraid of “repercussions” if they came forward with evidence. She said that a man who they believe was involved has been seen talking to a potential witness.

“They are still walking about the Short Strand and their presence in itself is intimidating,” said Claire McCartney.

“If they have been shunned by the IRA, then why are they still walking about the district?”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News