IRA statement on McCartney killing
The following is the full text of a statement by the Provisional
IRA on the death of Belfast man Robert McCartney.
Representatives of Oglaigh na hEireann 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
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
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
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
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."