Durkan to brief US envoy on pub murder
14/02/2005 - 09:05:03

President George Bush’s Northern Ireland aide is to be briefed on a brutal pub brawl murder blamed on the IRA, it emerged today.

Mark Durkan, leader of the nationalist SDLP, pledged to alert US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss on Robert McCartney’s killing amid deepening anger in Belfast.

Mr McCartney, a 33-year-old bouncer, died after being stabbed during a fight in the city two weeks ago.

Even though detectives have questioned several men, including a top republican, no-one has been charged with the killing.

But after the victim’s family spoke out against the wall of silence, Mr Durkan met them last night.

As he prepared for a trip to America, the SDLP chief claimed: “His vicious murder was at the hands of IRA people, including a very senior IRA person who was centrally involved in the attack.

“Many of those IRA people have been prominent Sinn Féin election workers and minders for their politicians."

It has been alleged that the IRA is shielding the gang involved in the attack.

Police have refused to comment on claims that Magennis’s Bar, where the fight broke out on January 30, was forensically cleaned by republicans who warned witnesses against saying anything.

“The family are equally clear as to why Robert was killed. Simply because he refused to bend the knee to a Provo boss,” claimed Mr Durkan.

“This is the worst kind of oppression by the IRA of their own community. It is a frightening example of the Mafia culture that is tearing away at our communities and threatening decent people.

“The family have asked me to take this case up and I gave them my word that I will do so. I will be meeting US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss on my US visit this week and I will be briefing him on this appalling murder and the organised cover-up and intimidation that is occurring.”

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