Daily Ireland

Sort it now

Former civil rights leader Eamon McCann told a Belfast rally yesterday that the killers of Robert McCartney had brought themselves down to the level of the paratroopers who shot dead 13 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday.
“They carried out another Bloody Sunday in Belfast,” he told several hundred people who had gathered in the Short Strand in support of the McCartney family.
Mr McCann said those who killed the father-of-two outside Magennis’s bar on January 30 had earlier marched in the Bloody Sunday anniversary parade in Derry.
“How dare they march on Bloody Sunday,” he said.
While Bloody Sunday in Derry had been a terrible injustice, the cover-up was equally unjust and it had taken the people of Derry 33 years to get to the truth of the killings because of a government cover-up, he added.
No similar cover-up should be tolerated in the killing of Robert McCartney.
“This killing must not become another long saga of coming and going, of to-ing and fro-ing. Sort it now. Give up the perpetrators. Give justice to the family of Robert McCartney.”
He also called for paramilitary groups on all sides to call it a day.
“Whatever justification they once had for their existence they can have none now,” he added.
On Saturday, the McCartney family gave a partial welcome to the IRA statement announcing that three members had been expelled. However, the family say the statement doesn’t go far enough. Yesterday, Robert’s sister Paul told the rally that his killers should do “the patriotic thing” and hand themselves in.

Killers should do the patriotic thing and come forward

The family of Robert McCartney, the man murdered outside a Belfast bar four weeks ago, yesterday told a rally that his killers should do the “patriotic thing” and hand themselves in.
Members of the McCartney family spoke to a crowd of around 1,000 people in the Short Strand area of the city.
The rally followed a statement on Friday evening by the IRA which said it had expelled three members who had a role in the father-of-two’s murder.
The McCartney family said they welcomed the move, but claimed it didn’t go far enough.
Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey was among those who applauded the family and urged people to support their campaign.
Paula McCartney said her brother’s killers should do the “patriotic thing” and hand themselves over.
“Despite intimidation and a whispering campaign people have come out to support us from a deep sense of injustice,” she said.
“People are sickened by Robert’s murder. People in the Short Strand have endured RUC brutality and loyalist aggression.
“Many IRA volunteers have gone to jail and died over the years.
“These qualities have been lacking in the men who stabbed Robert. They are not the kind of people the Short Strand regard as one of their own.
“Those responsible should do the patriotic thing and hand themselves over.”
On Saturday, a man who presented himself to the PSNI in relation to the murder was unconditionally released from custody.
Derry-based civil rights activist Eamonn McCann also spoke at the rally.
He said the murder occurred on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday and had been carried out by people who had been in Derry to commemorate the 13 civil rights protesters shot dead on 30 January 1972.
“The biggest insult I could give these people is that they will have stooped to the level of the British army who organised a cover-up of that day.
“We can’t allow another Bloody Sunday to occur in Belfast by people who came not as aliens but from inside our community.
“How dare the people who murdered Robert McCartney march on Bloody Sunday,” he said.
Mr McCann also said that the campaign was not against any one party nor was it divisive.
Mr McCartney’s niece Laura made a tearful appeal for anyone with information to come forward.
She said the family had only photographs and memories to remember her uncle who had been “brutally taken away at the hands of evil people”.
Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey was confronted by an uncle of Robert McCartney shortly before the rally got underway.
He told Mr Maskey that those who “butchered” his nephew should be handed over to the PSNI.
Mr Maskey said he fully supported the McCartney family’s campaign.
“The family say they want justice through the courts. I support that.
“I represent people in the community and I will do that to the best of my ability.
“There has been a media onslaught against republicans in the past number of weeks and people will make their own judgments on that.
“I am here to support the McCartney family in their campaign.”
Also among the 1,000 strong crowd was Brendan Devine, a friend of Robert McCartney, who was injured in the same incident outside Magennis’s Bar in Belfast city centre.

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