Euro-MPs overwhelmingly called for EU cash today to bring the murderers of Robert McCartney to justice.
An unprecedented motion adopted in Brussels demanded the use of EU budget money to back a civil action being planned by Mr McCartney’s sisters.
The motion will be debated in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday - in the presence of the campaigning McCartney sisters who have already visited Brussels seeking EU backing.
Leaders of political groups representing 627 of the European Parliament’s 732 members have hammered out the terms of the motion at talks in Brussels.
Those refusing to join the call include the left-wing GUE group – which includes the two Sinn Féin MEPs.
The motion condemned “violence and criminality by the self-styled Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland, in particular the murderers of Robert McCartney”.
The 33-year-old father of two was stabbed to death on January 30 in Belfast.
The nine-point motion includes a request – which requires European Commission approval – for the use of funds already set aside in the EU budget to help victims of terrorist acts.
Until now, that provision has never been applied to efforts to bring terrorist criminals to justice.
But the motion urges that “providing that the police service in Northern Ireland is unable to bring about a prosecution in relation to the murder of Robert McCartney, the European Union grants a financial contribution in conformity with the financial regulation toward the cost of the legal fees incurred by the McCartney family in their quest for justice by way of civil proceedings“.
Following Monday’s debate on the motion, the full Parliament will vote on Tuesday – almost certainly triggering the clearance of funds which would be crucial in the McCartney family’s ability to carry on fighting its case.