10 March 2005 Edition
IRA discloses steps taken to resolve McCartney issue
In its latest statement on the killing of Robert McCartney, the IRA disclosed that its representatives met with the dead man's family on two occasions.
According to republican sources, this latest statement, released on Tuesday 8 March, and the earlier statement of 25 February, are clear evidence of the sincerity of republicans in trying to bring about a successful resolution to this tragic incident.
The McCartney family, in their first meeting with republicans, asked for a number of things to be done. They wanted republicans to address the concerns of some witnesses in relation to allegations of, or evidence of, actual intimidation.
Twice republicans, and on a separate occasion using an independent third party, acceded to this request.
The family also wanted those who were present on the night Robert was killed to be ordered to go forward and give a true account of their actions.
This has been done, says the IRA statement.
There are key witnesses, in particular those friends of Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine, including Devine himself, who are obviously in a position to create the breakthrough. These people know, as it has been made clear, publicly and privately, that they have nothing to fear and should indeed go forward.
The source pointed out that the hypocritical stance taken by opponents of republicans does nothing positive to bring about a resolution to this situation.
Republicans are doing their best and are doing all they can to help.
At the end of the day, the source stressed, people cannot be physically forced to do the right thing, but it must be clearly understood that everything else that can be done is being done and continues to be done.
Full text of the IRA statement:
Representatives of Óglaigh na hÉireann met with Bridgeen Hagans, the partner of Robert McCartney and with his sisters before our statement of 25 February was issued.
The meeting lasted five and a half hours. During this time the IRA representatives gave the McCartney family a detailed account of our investigation.
Our investigation found that after the initial melee in Magennis`s bar, a crowd spilled out onto the street and Robert McCartney, Brendan Devine and two other men were pursued into Market Street.
Four men were involved in the attacks in Market Street on the evening of 30 January. A fifth person was at the scene. he took no part in the attacks and was responsible for moving to safety one of the two people accompanying Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine.
One man was responsible for providing the knife that was used in the stabbing of Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine in Market Street. He got the knife from the kitchen of Magennis`s Bar.
Another man stabbed Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine.
A third man kicked and beat Robert McCartney after he had been stabbed in Market Street.
A fourth man hit a friend of Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine across the face with a steel bar in Market Street.
The man who provided the knife also retrieved it from the scene and destroyed it. The same man also took the CCTV tape from the bar, after threatening a member of staff and later destroyed it. He also burned clothes after the attack.
Reports in the media have alleged that up to 12 IRA Volunteers were involved in the events in Market Street.
Our investigation found that this is not so. Of the four people directly involved in the attacks in Market Street, two were IRA Volunteers. The other two were not. The IRA knows the identity of all these men.
The build-up to the attack and stabbings was also outlined to the family and subsequently set out publicly in the IRA`s statement of 25 February.
The IRA representatives detailed the outcome of the internal disciplinary proceedings thus far and stated in clear terms that the IRA was prepared to shoot the people directly involved in the killing of Robert McCartney.
The McCartney family raised their concerns with the IRA representatives.
These included: Firstly, the family made it clear that they did not want physical action taken against those involved. They stated that they wanted those individuals to give a full account of their actions in court.
Secondly, they raised concerns about the intimidation of witnesses.
The IRA`s position on this was set out in unambiguous and categoric terms on February 15 and February 25. Before and after this meeting with the family, the IRA gave direct assurances on their safety to three named individuals who the family believe were the targets of intimidation.
Since we met the family, at that time, the good offices of an independent third party have been employed to reinforce these assurances with two of the three men. To this point the third party has not been able to contact the other man.
We have urged any witnesses who can assist in any way to come forward. That remains our position. The only interest the IRA has in this case is to see truth and justice achieved.
Since we issued our statement on February 25 there has been much political and media comment on what we had to say. Predictably our opponents and enemies who have their own agendas have used this brutal killing to attack republicans and to advance their own narrow political interests. The public will make their own judgment on this.
We sought and held a second meeting with the McCartney family in the presence of an independent observer.
In the course of this we reiterated our position in respect of witnesses, including our view that all witnesses should come forward. We also revisited details of the incident.
We disclosed the following to the family: The conclusions of the IRA`s investigations are based on voluntary admissions by those involved.
The names of those involved in the attacks and stabbings of Robert McCartney, Brendan Devine and the assault on another man in Market Street were given to the family.
This included the names of the two men responsible for providing the knife, using the knife, destroying the knife, destroying the CCTV tape and burning clothes.
In addition we informed the family that: We have ordered anyone who was present on the night to go forward and to give a full and honest account of their actions. That includes those who have already been subject to the IRA`s internal disciplinary proceedings.
We are continuing to press all of those involved in the events around the killings of Robert McCartney to come forward. The IRA is setting out all of the above at length because it is important that those issues of truth and justice are successfully resolved.
We are doing our best to work with the family and to respect their wishes.
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,