‘SF Mayor must talk to PSNI on McCartney murder’

Sinn Fein's Deirdre Hargey after being installed as Lord Mayor of Belfast in June.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Sinn Fein's Deirdre Hargey after being installed as Lord Mayor of Belfast in June.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The DUP and SDLP are pressing the Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast to talk to the PSNI about her recollections of events in a Belfast pub before the murder of Robert McCartney in 2005.

Sinn Fein councillor Deirdre Hargey, was one of 70 people in Magennis’ bar near the Markets area, when a fracas erupted that ended with the brutal murder of the 33-year-old father of two outside.

Mr McCartney’s death was widely blamed on IRA members and came at a fragile time politically – before the IRA had decommissioned or Sinn Fein had signed up to policing.

Despite the large number of people in the bar when the row began, no-one reported seeing anything.

Speaking ahead of her inauguration in June, Ms Hargey said the murder was “wrong and should not have happened”. She added: “If the PSNI or anyone else needs me in terms of helping in that investigation then I will do so”.

DUP council group leader Lee Reynolds said that after Ms Hargey’s installation, Robert’s murder was raised in the media and he responded that the most important issue was for the McCartney family to be heard.

“So the family then approached us and the SDLP and we agreed to work with them in their campaign for justice,” he said.

The McCartneys’ key desire, he said, was for the 13 witnesses who gave statements to the Police Ombudsman — one of whom was believed to be Ms Hargey — to talk to the PSNI face to face.

Robert’s sister, Catherine McCartney, said: “Now that she is in a position of leadership, we are calling on Deidre Hargey to go to the police.

“There were quite a few Sinn Fein members in the bar that night who have not yet done so. At the time Sinn Fein had not yet signed up to policing and some party members gave statements to the Police Ombudsman instead.

“Sinn Fein say they have cooperated with the police, but giving statements to the Ombudsman is not enough.”

She added that there was no suggestion that the Mayor was involved in any way in the death of her brother.

PSNI Det Insp Jason Murphy said: “Police continue to appeal to anyone with information about the murder of Robert McCartney in Belfast, in January 2005, to contact them.”

Sinn Fein did not offer any comment.