McCartney murder - Sinn Féin’s outrageous hypocrisy

THE groundbreaking decision by the European Parliament to back the sisters of Belfast man, Robert McCartney, by funding their legal campaign to bring his killers to justice, deserves to be loudly applauded.

But the decision of two Sinn Féin MEPs to vote against the money coming from the fund for victims of terror deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms.

By claiming the murder was not political, they have displayed the outrageous hypocrisy of a party which time and again makes a mockery of the democratic process.

There was a hollow ring to the claim by MEPs Bairbre de Brun and Mary Lou McDonald that the party fully supported the McCartneys’ demand for those responsible for the murder to face trial.

This flies in the face of republican intimidation of eyewitnesses to the crime.

Arguably, there could hardly be a better use of EU anti-terrorist funds than the move to finance a civil action if, as seems likely, the North’s police, the PSNI, run into a stone wall. Effectively, the funding is contingent on their failure to solve the crime.

The key question, however, is whether this unprecedented use of EU funds, laudable though it may be, will succeed in bringing to book the perpetrators of this dastardly crime?

Despite the fact that the dogs on the street know the identity of the IRA men who stabbed and beat Robert McCartney to death last January not one eyewitness has so far come forward to name names.

This despite the fact there were 70 people in the pub when the fatal row erupted. It is absolutely inconceivable that no one witnessed the fracas which spilled from the bar onto the pavement where the brutal murder took place.

Arguably, the case could remain on the books for years. Notwithstanding that possibility, however, the McCartney sisters remain undeterred, claiming they received a clear indication from the PSNI that the family would be notified if police investigations run into the sands.

Significantly, the EU motion was overwhelmingly carried by 555 votes to four, with 40 abstentions. Regrettably, however, the move by DUP MEP Jim Allister to name on the floor of the parliament individuals allegedly connected with the murder could yet prove counter-productive in a court of law.

Understandably, the family remain critical of what they see as the duplicity of Sinn Féin’s role in this tragic affair. Indeed, they have accused Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams of speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the question.

Despite the expulsion of three members from the republican movement, the reality is that not a shred of hard evidence has yet been provided by those who witnessed the fatal attack.

Naturally, this lends credence to the popular view that members of the political and military wings of the republican movement are opposite sides of the same coin.

The only conclusion to be drawn is that those who witnessed the tragedy have been cowed into silence by an omerta campaign of Mafia-style intimidation by the IRA.

In the current climate of coercion, all the signs suggest the wall of silence surrounding the murder is unlikely to be breached. Basically, Sinn Féin stands accused of failing to call on those responsible or who witnessed the attack to cooperate fully and directly with the PSNI.

But if Sinn Féin can be sure of anything, it is that this courageous family will persist with their campaign for justice. The sisters of Robert McCartney are not going to go away.

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