was with heart-felt thanks and admiration that I
read Mr. John Kelly's excellent letter (Feb.14),
in support of my son's letter (Gerard
Quinn Feb. 11th), regarding the brutal murder
of his cousin, and my nephew, Robert McCartney.
Mr Kelly is probably well aware, engaging in any
form of speech or writing critical of Sinn Fein
policy - never mind the growing psychopathic element
within the IRA - is, these days, an increasingly
dangerous exercise. Thus, Mr Kelly's brave support
is all the more welcome by the family of our much-loved
Robert. We are deeply grateful to Mr Kelly, while
only wish there were more of his calibre and integrity
within the nationalist-republican family.
Gerard's mother, I am extremely proud of him for
his courageous stance. But I also fear for him.
Defying gangsters and murderers who demand that
we keep quiet about the senseless slaughter of Robert
by Shankill Butcher-types and psychopathic cowards,
disguised as our so-called 'protectors', is a very
if an innocent, well-respected, young man like Robert,
out for a drink with friends, can be pounced upon
and fatally stabbed within minutes of entering a
public house - in full view of 72 witnesses - simply
for being in the wrong place at the wrong time,
then we, the family, must speak out for justice.
Robert's murder was a heinous crime. A crime that
will be visited on other innocents, unless and until
those responsible are brought to account. And we
as a family must face that risk too in our effort
to encourage witnesses to give evidence. For how
else, other than gaining justice for Robert, could
we live with our consciences the next time a mother
buries her innocent child, murdered by the same
hands that so callously took Robert's young life?
am also proud of my nieces, Gemma, Paula, Catherine,
Donna and Clare, Robert's sisters, and his fiancée,
Bridgeen, mother of his two beautiful little sons.
Despite their unbearable grief, they tirelessly
flag up the well-known fact that, while Robert's
murder may not have been 'sanctioned,' it WAS committed
by scum in the IRA who, by association, disgrace
the entire organisation. The six women also point
out that the subsequent cover-up, and threats to
prevent witnesses from giving evidence, emanate
from the highest level of Sinn Fein and the IRA.
For me, this makes them accomplices after the fact
in my nephew's unjustifiable murder.
the other hand, I refuse to believe that every single
member of our one-time protectors are not as disgusted
by Robert's murder as the McCartney family itself.
Indeed, I believe that countless decent IRA members
are not merely disgusted by it, but totally repulsed.
the vigil to honour my nephew and his subsequent
funeral were attended by numerous people who remain
supporters of Sinn Fein - for now anyway. The ball
has been placed firmly at the feet of the Sinn Fein
leadership. Henceforth, their words and actions
will be scrutinised by all but their most blind
adherents and sycophants. Thus, the leadership will
determine its own political future.
pointed out by Mr Kelly, my son and many others,
Robert McCartney's horrific murder was a civil crime,
not a political act. If Sinn Fein's leaders fail
to publicly and unambiguously call on every person
with information regarding this crime to give that
information to the police - everything, from the
seemingly insignificant to the perpetrators' names
- then I see, in the not too distant future, Sinn
Fein's headstone etched with the words, "Death