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McCartneys hit out at 'untruthful' SF

(Sharon O'Neill, Irish News)

Relatives of Robert McCartney have issued their strongest attack on Sinn Féin yet, accusing members of the party of being untruthful.

Catherine McCartney, a sister of the murder victim, repeated the family's view that Sinn Féin was not doing enough to bring their brother's killers to justice.

And she labelled the comments of some election candidates as a "disgrace."

Mr McCartney (33), a father-of-two, was beaten and stabbed to death outside a Belfast city bar on January 30.

With IRA members suspected of involvement, his family have accused the Provisionals of shielding his killers.

Three figures within the paramilitary organisation were expelled in the wake of the murder, and a number of Sinn Féin activists suspended.

Despite the Sinn Féin leadership calling on members present in the bar to give a full and frank account of what they saw, the McCartney family insists a campaign of intimidation continues.

A number of people have been arrested but so far no-one has faced any charges.

Those who have volunteered themselves to police for questioning have reserved their right to silence.

Police said the investigation has been hampered by a lack of witnesses.

On Sunday, hundreds of people, including the victim's sisters and his fiancee, held a vigil where he was killed.

It was the first time the McCartneys had returned to the scene of the murder.

Last night (Wednesday), Ms McCartney accused the party of being "untruthful" with voters over her brother's murder, branding some comments by candidates a "disgrace".

"Michelle Gildernew who recently attended a women's event told the audience that Sinn Féin are in 'daily' contact with the family and Deborah Devenny (East Belfast candidate) describes herself as having 'good relations' with the family," she said.

"They (Sinn Féin) are not in daily contact with the family. We contacted them last week regarding the intimidation, but that has been it.

"Sinn Féin insists that they are doing everything in their power to help bring Robert's killers to justice, this is not the case, if this were the case their own party members would be cooperating with the police or the ombudsman.

"At times one begins to wonder if your vote is worth more than your life to some political players."

Last night a Sinn Féin spokesperson said: "Sinn Féin support the McCartney family in their campaign for justice.

"Alex Maskey and Gerry Kelly both attended the weekend vigil.

"We have been in regular contact with the McCartney family.

"The characterisation of that contact is a matter for the McCartneys."

April 22, 2005

This article appeared first in the April 21, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

This article appears thanks to the Irish News. Subscribe to the Irish News