Borrell to hold talks over 'wall of silence'

European Parliament President Josep Borrell is holding talks with senior Euro-MPs tomorrow in a bid to break the “wall of silence” surrounding the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

European Parliament President Josep Borrell is holding talks with senior Euro-MPs tomorrow in a bid to break the “wall of silence” surrounding the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

The move was announced after Mr Borrell met three of Mr McCartney’s campaigning sisters in Brussels this afternoon.

Catherine, Paula and Gemma McCartney had spent the morning in a series of meetings with Euro-MPs explaining that their search for justice in Northern Ireland was running into the ground.

Catherine McCartney described how the family was confronting a “wall of silence which is as strong today as it was on the day Robert was murdered“.

Gemma McCartney described it as a “conspiracy of silence“.

Their 33-year-old brother was stabbed after a row in a bar in Belfast city centre on January 30.

This afternoon Mr Borrell said the family had full European Parliament support in their campaign and he had been “honoured to meet the three sisters”.

He went on: “I am deeply impressed by the bravery they have shown in standing up to impunity and by the campaign for Justice they are leading.

“The rule of law must prevail in all countries of the EU and in all circumstances. Justice must prevail for all victims of violence – it cannot be partial or sectarian.”

Then Mr Borrell said: “The doors of the European Parliament will always be open to those who need a public tribune to fight any kind of injustice and I will discuss tomorrow with the group chairmen what we – as an institution representing all European citizens – can do to help to break the ’wall of silence’ surrounding Robert’s murder.”

Group chairmen are the leaders of the various political groupings in the European Parliament, who had earlier heard Catherine McCartney urge financial backing to launch a civil action against those the family believe were responsible for Robert McCartney’s murder.

She said police efforts and the intervention of the ombudsman had produced no results and there was “no sign of a breakthrough“.

The alternative was a civil action – but that required money the McCartneys do not have.

Mr Borrell’s talks tomorrow will look into whether there are ways to use the Parliament budget to help individual cases.

Leader of the British Labour MEPs Gary Titley said it might not be possible to use Parliament funds directly to finance an individual legal action, but he suggested MEPs across the board would be willing to contribute from their own pockets.

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