Feelings run high in Short Strand

Hard to tell how to gauge the significance of such local tragedies, but Angelique Chrisafis found some strong feelings bubbling just under the surface the funeral of Robert McCartney, the man stabbed to death recently outside Magennis’s near the Markets.

The past week has seen an unprecedented turning point in local attitudes towards the IRA. More than 600 people gathered for a candlelight street vigil in defiance of Mr McCartney’s killers. Residents in the Short Strand, which has suffered decades of sectarian violence, would once not have challenged the standing of the IRA, seen as defenders of the community. But some said the vigil was a sign of the growing unease at the criminal activities of what one person called a “Goodfellas” gang of IRA “peacetime” paramilitaries. People complained of IRA punishment beatings, racketeering, intimidation and sexual violence over recent years.

In an area with its own republican murals, once unthinkable graffiti appeared on one wall last week: “PIRA [Provisional IRA] scum out”.

  • puddinhead

    It is an awful shame that the murderers of this man are free men. This just illustrates the fear nationalist areas are subjected to by the IRA. This should be an open and shut case. But still no convictions.
    It is high time people in these areas stood up to these thugs. The people have the power to change things.
    Shame on the IRA

  • Christopher Stalford

    The Provos were responsible for this mans murder – there is no doubt in my mind at all. Sinn Fein will suffer at election time in the area because of it. Joe O’Donnell’s “this is part of the knife culture” – guff was stomach-churning.

  • Davros

    The Blanket, Anthony McIntyre Oderint dum Metuant

    Excellent article.

  • puddinhead

    Thanks Davros,
    Anthony McIntyre is excellent as always. I hope SF suffer as aresult of this heinous crime. The IRA are a hindrance to Sinn Feins political progress and an embarassment to any reasonable person. They should be stood down immediately.

  • Davros

    He made an excellent point about Fisher and Wright , one that could also be directed at The killers of Garda McCabe.

  • puddinhead

    For evil to triumph -all it takes is for good men to do nothing.

    Come May 5 people must reject these monsters at the ballot box.

  • PaddyCanuck

    Very good post by Anthony, I agree totally.

    Its time thugs hiding behind the legitimacy of the Republican struggle are thrown out of the movement. They blacken the cause, and endanger the peace.

    I would add the names Johnny Adair, Billy Wright and Lenny Murphy to the two British Soldiers that Anthony mentions.

  • johnhidd

    I would add the names Johnny Adair, Billy Wright and Lenny Murphy to the two British Soldiers that Anthony mentions.

    (Posted by: PaddyCanuck at February 9, 2005 07:51 PM)

    How did all these people get into a discussion about an IRA man killing a Short Strand man?

    Mick, is this a Godwin?

  • Lena

    First and foremost I would like to thank Slugger and co for keeping the issue of Robert’s brutal murder in the public eye still. I know there are a number of peole who would wish it to go away.

    As I sat in St Matthews on Tuesday and gazed around at the congregation I was humbled at the numbers of people and the solidarity shown by so many.

    As I have already mentioned I am a family friend of the McCartney family.

    This family has had so much hurt over the past week and ahalf from some members of their own community. Might I add that this is a small number of people who suggest that the family should just get over Robert’s murder.

    This will never happen as long as the murderers continue to be sheltered by the republican movement.

    As I listened to the priest denounce the killers and speak of the heroic act that Robert did – he ultimately gave his life to save his friend. An act that should be rewarded with honour not condemned by hatred.

    Robert was such a loving and charismatic character. He would have never left his friend for dead like these murderous scum did to him.

    Sadly as the family now try to grieve for Robert they are still being jeered by so called republicans.

    I just hope that the decent people of the Strand remember Robert when they cast their vote on MAy 5th.

    There is nothing we can do to bring Robert back but as a people we can try and prevent his killers and their protectors from being elected.

    The hgih profile republican/murderer that was central to the police investigation has been seen visiting Sinn Fein Hq in Belfast over the past few days. With his bandage hand he is walking free from just while Robert is left in Carmoney Cemetary.

    THERE IS NO JUSTICE IN THAT!!

    (please excuse my poor grammar)

  • puddinhead

    Lena,
    We can only hope that peoples memories will not forget this awful crime. Why is the media not hounding this senior republican?
    Surely he could be asked about what happened in the bar on that awful evening?

  • Lena

    Puddinhead

    Thanks for your support. The media can not hound this man becuase of libel and slander laws. And the police do not want to ruin their investigation which I feel has already been tampered with by the removal of videos and the contamination of the crime scene by republican supporters.

    This person had been questioned but as there is a great deal of witness intimidation they can not find anyone to come forward.

    The amount of fear and tension in the community is astounding. Neighbours are battling one another as are some families who have sympathy for both sides.

    It is an unbelieveable task.

    I just hope that Robert is the only person to lose their life in this battle.

  • Alan

    Lena,

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    This incident has, unfortunately, hundreds of echoes throughout NI. It is a classic example of violence corrupting everything it touches. What is important is that we take a step beyond simply recognising this.

    I remember one example elsewhere in East Belfast, in a large protestant estate where an under age girl was raped by a protestant paramilitary. The family were approached by the paramilitary organisation asking them not to deal with the police as the perp would be dealt with by their organisation – they offered broken legs and arms. Despite threats, the family chose to go to the police.

    It is happening throughout our society and people need, somehow, to find the strength to challenge these people.

  • DCB

    Arguably it’s far worse than the Northern Bank, SF should be challenged to make a statement saying that anyone can freely give evidence to the police without fear.

    Also isn’t it good that the robbed the Northern, if they hadn’t they could have been in government now