Belfast Telegraph

'I didn't order fatal pub attack'
Top republican tells of how he was stabbed

By Chris Thornton
03 March 2005

The senior republican arrested over the murder of Robert McCartney today denied ordering the fatal attack.

Gerard "Jock" Davison, who was later released without charge, admitted being in Magennis's bar in Belfast when the row that led to the murder broke out, but claimed he is "as much a victim of circumstances as everybody else".

In an interview with Daily Ireland, Mr Davison said he believes the intimidation of witnesses to the murder is "non-existent".

The republican said he had personally told witnesses to give statements to the same solicitor he has instructed in the case.

Mr Davison said he had called into Magennis's bar on January 30 and was approached by "a member" who said that men at a table which included Robert McCartney had been making rude gestures to women.

Mr Davison said he approached Robert McCartney, a former neighbour of his, and "sorted it out in a couple of seconds".

He said another man he did not know then "verbally attacked me" and stabbed him three times .

"I defended myself and that was my sole role in the whole affair," he said.

He said he was treated for three hand wounds in the bar and then brought to hospital. He said he was "nowhere near" Market Street, where the worst part of the assault on Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine, who was seriously injured, took place a few moments later.

Mr Davison said he was already at the Royal Victoria Hospital when Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine were brought in "maybe 20 minutes, half an hour after me".

The interview was published as Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern were preparing to meet in Downing Street.

It follows Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell's claim that the IRA has never planned to wind up its activities, but intended to continue to exist as "gendarmerie" for Sinn Fein.

During the interview with Daily Ireland editor Maria McCourt, Mr Davison refused to answer questions about whether he has been dismissed from the IRA or if he is the senior republican described in last week's IRA statement on the murder.

Several accounts of the row in Magennis's bar said a senior IRA member drew his finger across his throat in a gesture to other IRA members in the bar.

But he denied ordering the attack or playing any other role.

"I would like to get somebody to stand over that," he said.

"I totally refute that, it's actually an insult to say that I was . . . even that implication, that you ordered somebody to kill a man.

"I'm from the Short Strand, he's a neighbour of mine, he's a member of my community.

"There's not a snowball's chance in hell that I would even involve myself in an incident like that. I totally refute that allegation, it's wrong, it's unfair on me."

He added: "I sorted out the problem with Robert McCartney in seconds and I was attacked by a thug so I'm as much a victim of circumstances as everybody else."

Mr Davison said he has met members of the McCartney's extended family and would like to meet Mr McCartney's closest relatives.

Mr Davison denied knowing about the clean-up operation in the bar by IRA members, when tape from a security camera was stolen.

He said he did not believe witnesses had been intimidated.

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