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June 3, 2005
Arrests Made In McCartney Case

Two Belfast men have been arrested in the murder of Robert McCartney, the man whom suspected IRA terrorists killed in a pub brawl and then covered up through threats and initimidation. The killings threw the Northern Ireland peace process into a crisis and badly tarnished the Sinn Fein (NI) party:

Two Belfast men were charged Friday in the IRA-linked knife slaying of a Catholic man and the injury of his friend outside a pub earlier this year, the first breakthrough in a case that has overshadowed Northern Ireland's peace process for months.

A 49-year-old man will face a charge of murdering Robert McCartney, while a 36-year-old man will be charged with the attempted murder of Brendan Devine, police said. The arraignment was set for Saturday in Belfast Crown Court.

McCartney's sisters who have taken their campaign to the White House and the European Parliament said they were stunned by the news but emphasized that their mission for justice still had a long way to go.

"We hope it will lead to further arrests, because there were more than two people involved. We still have a long way to go in terms of a trial and convictions," said Catherine McCartney. "We are happy this has happened, but we know it is by no means over."

Two Sinn Fein politicians had been present in the pub when the murders occurred but claimed to have seen nothing. Sinn Fein and the IRA initially insisted that they had nothing to do with the murders, but then the IRA offered to kneecap those responsible as an apology to the McCartney family -- an offer the appalled McCartneys refused. The case revealed the extent to which paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland still control the daily lives of citizens, similar to Mafia families in the immigrant neighborhoods of a few decades ago here in the US.

Congratulations and admiration go out to the brave McCartneys, who stood up to the cowards and terrorists that killed their brother and terrified people into silence. Hopefully this will start a process that will take the guns, bombs, and knives out of Northern Ireland's political processes for good.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 3, 2005 12:01 PM

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