Feb. 27, 2005
Man held after IRA expels three over father's killing
By Julie Henry
Police arrested a man yesterday in connection with the murder of Robert
McCartney, 33, a Roman Catholic believed to have been killed by IRA
members in a pub brawl.
The arrest came after the man went to Musgrave Street police station in
Belfast with his solicitor.
Earlier yesterday, Mr McCartney's family had appealed to all those
involved in the events leading to his killing in a Belfast bar on
January 30 - and a subsequent attempt to clean the bar of evidence - to
This followed a decision by the IRA on Friday to expel three members in
connection with the murder. The IRA said one of the three had gone to a
solicitor after the incident to make a statement on his actions that
night. It advised the other two "in the strongest terms possible" to
come forward and take responsibility for their actions. It was unclear
whether one of the three members went to the police station in Belfast
yesterday, or whether it was another person.
The family's statement said: "We welcome the fact that the IRA has
accepted unequivocally that their members were involved in Robert's
cold-blooded murder and the subsequent cover and clean-up operation.
"We acknowledge that they have taken action against particular members
in the form of expulsions and are in the process of conducting their
own procedures against others involved. The statement confirms what our
family has maintained all along that Robert was a completely innocent
man." The family insisted, however, that more people must come forward
to help the investigation into the forklift driver's stabbing.
The IRA expulsions follow unprecedented criticism of the organisation
by the man's family, led by his sister, Paula McCartney. There has been
revulsion within the republican community over the murder, prompting
graffiti to appear in nationalist areas, reading: "PIRA [Provisional
IRA] scum out."
Mr McCartney, the father of two young sons, was a Sinn Fein voter and a
well-liked member of the republican community. His family have received
widespread praise for their defiance of the Provisionals, who are
accused of launching a campaign of intimidating witnesses to the
murder. His killers are alleged to have included a senior figure in the
IRA, a Provisional IRA hitman and five other republicans. Earlier
yesterday, Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, piled pressure on those
involved in the incident to come forward.
Mr McCartney was in Magennis's Bar in central Belfast when a group of
men entered, having returned from the Bloody Sunday commemorations in
Londonderry. A row flared and his throat was slashed with a bottle. A
knife and metal bars were also used in the attack.
The pub's doors were then allegedly locked while it was cleaned of
evidence. More than 70 people in the bar were allegedly warned to