Belfast Telegraph

I know who killed McCartney: Ahern

By Chris Thornton
24 February 2005

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says he knows the names of Belfast man Robert McCartney's IRA killers - and he said witnesses helping the PSNI is the only way to stop "the bully boys and thugs".

His comments followed his Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, saying it would be "patriotic" for Irish people to assist the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

After meetings in Dublin and Belfast yesterday, Mr McCartney's family said politicians across Ireland are unanimous in their desire to see the father of two's killers caught.

Mr McCartney (33), was stabbed outside Magennis' pub in Belfast city centre on January 30.

The killing is believed to have been carried out by IRA members during a fight, and was not ordered by the IRA leadership.

But the killers are believed to have used the IRA's anti-forensic skills to destroy evidence and their position as IRA members to intimidate around 70 witnesses.

The IRA has distanced itself from the killing, saying no one should hinder the family "in their search for truth and justice".

But republicans have stopped short of recommending co-operation with the PSNI, and Mr McCartney's family say no witnesses have yet come forward.

The Taoiseach said that "dealing properly with the PSNI is ultimately the only way we will stop" the intimidation.

He said the names of the killers "are known".

"The names of those people involved are freely spoken about. I will not mention names but I have talked to several people who told me who was involved.

"It is well known; there is no mystery about it. The issue is to get people who were there to co-operate with the PSNI to have these people charged."

Mr Ahern added: "There are people who can resolve the McCartney murder very quickly.

"Not only were these people present at the scene of the crime - this is known - but they also had the audacity to go back to the scene of the crime to sweep the place clean. It is bad enough killing people but to do that is horrendous. "

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