Americans will remember that the usual St Patrick’s Day invitations were withdrawn from Sinn Fein by all parties this year in favor of the family of a murder victim. The McCartney family are strong supporters of the Republican cause but are being denied justice in the murder of their fiance and brother. Robert McCartney was killed in a fight which is believed to involve members and elected represntatives of Sinn Fein.
Now with the general election upcoming, their campaign is obviously becoming embarrassing for Sinn Fein and the McCartney family are starting to get threats and intimidation. The piece below the fold is a quote of the entire article from the Guardian as it tends to move archive pieces behind a pay wall.
Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Friday April 15, 2005
Police were last night investigating a claim by the sister of the Belfast murder victim Robert McCartney that she was intimidated by republicans and told to leave her home.
Paula McCartney, 40, a mature student with five children, said she was visited at around midnight on Wednesday at her terrace house in the small Catholic enclave of Short Strand in east Belfast.
Ms McCartney said a relative of a Sinn Fein member suspended over her brother’s killing threatened that she would be “put out” of the area. She was warned not to distribute leaflets publicising a vigil for her brother, who was allegedly murdered by IRA members after an argument in a bar.
Mr McCartney’s fiancee, Bridgeen Hagans, said she was also threatened and told to leave the area with her two sons, aged two and four.
One month after the family took their campaign for justice to Washington, no one has been charged with McCartney’s murder and his sisters say witnesses have been intimidated.
On Wednesday, Ms Hagans and four of the McCartney sisters pushed slips of paper through letterboxes in Short Strand, announcing a vigil on Sunday outside Magennis’s bar where Mr McCartney was attacked. Paula McCartney said that on one street a crowd of 12 men and women gathered shouting abuse about Mr McCartney and shouting sexual obscenities at the sisters. They told Ms Hagans to move out of the area.
Ms McCartney said the crowd was “a minority, a dangerous minority. They are intent on oppressing and intimidating people…
“We believe their aim was to engage us in a physical confrontation in an effort to damage the campaign. But we didn’t rise to the challenge.”
She said the crowd included relatives and associates of people believed to be involved in Mr McCartney’s killing and the subsequent cover-up. A senior republican who the family allege was involved in the murder was standing nearby but not taking part.
Ms McCartney had contacted police. She said the majority of Short Strand residents had been supportive and Sunday’s vigil would go ahead.
Sinn Fein councillor Joe O’Donnell said: “I seem to be coming to the conclusion that it was a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other with regards to the abuse and threats which passed back and forwards between some residents and some members of the McCartney family. I am trying to reconcile and mediate in the situation. I have to keep an open mind.”
The McCartneys denied being threatening or abusive.
The SDLP deputy leader, Alasdair McDonnell, said: “There are no two sides to this story…This was a naked attempt to silence them [the McCartneys] and drive them out.
“Sinn Fein may claim to support the family, but the reality is that on the ground, Sinn Fein and the IRA are clouding the issue, covering up the truth and trying to silence the voices of those who demand justice.”