The family of murdered Belfast father-of-two Robert McCartney is considering a civil action against his killers similar to the case against people accused of the Omagh bomb.
As Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams branded those responsible for the murder cowards, Mr McCartney’s sister Catherine confirmed tonight they were exploring whether a civil action could be taken if it proved impossible to bring his killers to court.
“We are looking, if we cannot get those who killed my brother into court on criminal charges, at the possibility of a legal action similar to the Omagh families’ civil action,” she said.
“It is one avenue we want to explore with lawyers and we will be seeking legal advice. However our principal focus at the moment is on getting those responsible into court.”
Robert McCartney, a 30-year-old forklift driver, was stabbed and beaten outside a Belfast city centre bar on January 30 and a friend, Brendan Devine was also seriously wounded following a row with republicans.
Some of the relatives of the 29 people killed by the Real IRA in the Omagh bomb have taken a landmark civil action against five people alleged to have had roles in the attack.
In August 2003, Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy donated £800,000 (€1.1bn) in government funds to the Omagh family’s legal fund to enable the case to be heard in court.
Catherine McCartney tonight queried Sinn Féin’s handling of her brother’s case.
“It has emerged Sinn Féin members were among the 70 people in that bar,” she said.
“Why hasn’t Sinn Féin expelled those members? Any other party would have. It is also not good enough to ask people to provide information through their solicitors to the Police Ombudsman.
“People must go directly to the police or Police Ombudsman because they have the investigative skills to find out what happened.”