IRA offer to kill killers – surprised no one thanks them

March 8th, 2005 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

Those who’ve been following Irish current affairs recently will know that there has been an interesting turn of events in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Robert McCartney in Belfast. McCartney was murdered by a gang of IRA members who chased him out of a pub and beat him to death. The gang then returned to the pub, removed the tapes from the bar’s CCTV system, poured bleach over surfaces in order to destroy any DNA evidence, and instructed everyone present that they were not to assist the police – that they had, in effect, seen nothing.

So much, so ordinary. But the sisters and partner of Robert have campaigned vigorously for justice and the attitude towards the IRA seems to be shifting. People in (working-class nationalist communities in) the North are beginning to voice criticism in a way that wouldn’t have happened in the past. The IRA and Sinn Féin have been put on the back foot, having to take remedial action to show that “no, this isn’t what we’re really like.” The IRA issued a statement announcing that it had expelled three members, and calling on members of the community to co-operate in seeking justice in the case. [The IRA ordered at least one of the three to return to the North after he subsequently moved to the Republic.] It is noticeable, though, that neither SinnFéin nor the IRA can bear to say that people should talk to the police.

Now, in one of the crazier turns in this story, the IRA have issued another statement saying that they had made an offer to Robert’s sisters to have the killers shot, but that the sisters hadn’t accepted this. What? Yes – they’ve seen the complaints about vigilantes and their members seeing themselves as – literally – a law unto themselves and have responded by offering to, well, be a law unto themselves.

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