The family of a man fatally stabbed outside a Belfast city-centre bar a
fortnight ago has accused Provisional IRA members, who are also Sinn Féin
election workers, of his murder.
Robert McCartney (33) was stabbed in the stomach, kicked, punched and beaten
with sewer rods. His friend, Brendan Devine, who was also stabbed and
beaten, remains under police guard at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.
A gun was produced, although not used, during the attack outside Magennis's
bar. The McCartneys said the murder was more important than the Northern
Bank robbery and they would not rest until the killers were convicted.
Speaking from her home in the Short Strand area of Belfast, McCartney's
sister Paula said: "We are an ordinary, working-class nationalist family. We
are not securocrats out to ruin the peace process.
"Robert voted Sinn Féin. Our mother voted Sinn Féin, two of my sisters voted
Sinn Féin. We have no political agenda. We are simply seeking justice for
"There has been a huge outcry about the Northern Bank raid. Robert's murder
raises far more questions than any robbery. No amount of money, even £26
million, is more important than a human life."
The names of the six IRA men involved in the attack are known to the Sunday
Tribune but cannot be published for legal reasons. They are from the Short
Strand and Market area of Belfast.
The most senior is the operations' officer of the IRA's general headquarters
(GHQ) staff. He is a former Belfast Brigade OC. The men have a reputation
for thuggery and many complaints have been made about them to Sinn Féin over
They have all acted as Sinn Féin election workers, and one was a bodyguard
for Martin McGuinness when he visited Queen's University Belfast.
The McCartneys said they knew the attack was the work of individual
Provisionals and wasn't authorised by the leadership. Police sources
However, the family accused the IRA of "a cover-up" to protect the senior
figure involved. They blamed the Provisionals for a campaign of intimidation
to silence the community and frustrate the police investigation.
Paula McCartney said: "The IRA was involved in a clean-up operation in the
bar so there would be no forensic evidence. The IRA threatened
"The IRA visited the local community centre and ordered people not to talk
to the police and media, not even to talk to each other, about the murder.
This raises very serious questions for Sinn Féin."
The McCartneys are considering presenting the names of their brother's
killers to Gerry Adams, and asking how he thinks the family can find
Paula McCartney stressed they wanted to pursue the matter in a purely
peaceful manner through the courts. Robert McCartney, a father of two,
worked as a doorman in a local nightclub. His partner Bridgeen said she was
"disgusted" by the murder.