Robert McCartney’s sister challenges Kelly to release IRA murder report

Catherine McCartney and her sisters campaigned for justice for their murdered brother Robert
Catherine McCartney and her sisters campaigned for justice for their murdered brother Robert

A sister of a Catholic IRA victim has responded to calls for information from the Government by Gerry Kelly by asking him to release the IRA’s internal report on her brother’s murder.

Catherine McCartney’s brother Robert was fatally stabbed by the IRA in Magennis’ Bar on May Street in Belfast in 2005.

His five sisters stepped out from their native Short Strand to campaign for justice, in Washington, Strasbourg, Brussels, Berlin and London.

In 2008, three men were tried in Belfast but found not guilty.

This week Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly called on the Government to release information to families on deaths of their loved ones during the Troubles. He was speaking after a party delegation, led by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, met Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to discuss dealing with the past.

“We made it clear that the British government’s blanket veto on providing information to the families of victims of the conflict is unacceptable and remains the biggest single obstacle in dealing with the legacy of the past,” he said.

“The British Government can resolve this issue easily by providing the information demanded by families on the deaths of their loved ones during the conflict.”

But Catherine McCartney called on Sinn Fein to live up to the standards it was setting for others.

“Here we are in 2016 and they are talking about truth and reconciliation and yet Sinn Fein members who were in the bar the night my brother was murdered have still to physically sit down with police to talk about what happened that night.

“If they are calling on the British state to release papers, it is hypocritical and will fall on deaf ears unless they are willing to lead by example.”

She added: “I would call on Gerry Kelly to hand over the IRA’s investigation report on Robert’s murder to the authorities.

“They said they did an internal investigation – so what did they do with all the information they gathered?”

She also called on the IRA to explain what they did with the knife used to murder her brother, which she believes could be crucial evidence against his killers.

“They have been very good in getting rid of evidence in a lot of murders but they still have a lot of information about who did what, which would be of great interest to families,” she added.

In 2013 the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin criticised the IRA for failing to face questions about its collusion with Garda in the murder of two senior RUC officers.

In 2003 Martin McGuinness refused to discuss IRA activities with the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

A spokesman for the party said: “Sinn Féin has consistently called for anyone with information on the killing of Robert McCartney to bring it forward to the PSNI.”