Death of a kick boxer

We don’t know the detail of this story, other than what Jim Cusack reports. But on the face of it is it quite shocking. It concerns a vendetta killing of a young man in Castlewellan, Matthew Burns. There is no mention of the details in Burns’s dispute with a local IRA OC, although he carries the family’s denial that he had been involved in drug dealling. The rest of the story is becoming depressingly familiar.

Adds: The Down Democrat covered it thus at the time. Thanks to reader Observer for the heads up.

  • Jacko

    The media knew all of the details on this killing from the word go. This guy was no more a drug dealer than he was a martian. In fact, knowing some people from that area, he was as close to “upright citizen” as you could imagine. But the context of the peace process wasn’t right at the time for cages to be rattled and lies to be exposed. The end result: not only was the young man killed, but his good name has been dragged in the gutter as well. Welcome to republicanism, 2005 style.

  • Davros

    Jacko- they and their drones have been dragging their victims’ names through the gutter from the early days of the troubles – eg the whispering campaign that Jean McConville had abandoned her children to run off with a copper or soldier. As we have seen on this site recently it’s still going on.

  • mickhall

    I agree with both Jacko and Davros on this, the details of the murder of Matthew Burns have been common knowledge for ages, indeed before he was murdered the fact he took on the PIRA hoods was common knowledge. There is a common thread going through all of these smear campaigns, making it difficult to believe it is coming from any other source but the Provos. Drugs is the give away, as the average person does not get themselves into a lather over drug dealers, whereas the Provo leadership does. (by the way their ignorance of the physical effects of illegal drugs is shocking, but that is for another thread, hopefully)

    Do we not life in an up side down world these days, someone invades someone else’s country (Iraq) and it is the victims who fight back who become the terrorists? PIRA members kill a man and it is there victim who is the criminal. Much of this media atitude started with the UK miners, Thatcher intended on ruining their lives by destroying their livelihood and they became portrayed in the media as militants and trouble makers, intent on destroying the country for no other reason than they fought back, whereas she was portrayed then and now as a heroine rebuilding the economy for the benefit of, well who? certainly not the mining comunities.

    The victim if they refuse to bend the knee to the powers that be, who ever they may be, becomes the criminal. Outrageous yet in our own small way, we all in some way acquiesce in this obscenity, not least by giving it a moments thought as a possibility.

  • alex s

    I read about this man on Sunday, it’s just another case of Provo justice as was Kearney and McCartney and many others

  • Jacko


    An excellent and thought-provoking post.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    people I know in Castlewellan have told me that it was common knowledge that the RIRA killed Burns. But then again the common knowledge you have and the ‘everyone knows’ ramble of Cusack do dovetail very nicely.
    A fact that Cusack recognisies as he tries to weave them into the story. So mainstream republicans hire in RIRA members to do killings from them?
    Very few people with any knowledge of the relationship between the various groupings believe it and treat it as the crock of shit that it is.

    But then again how do you square the circle of blaming mainstream republicans when the RIRA are in the frame. Bingo, they were hire in, case solved.

  • Davros

    and up pops Pat LOL.

    These sorts of posts should be called “Patnip” – anything that shows the Provos and/or SF and he is drawn like a cat to catnip ….

    usually with this sort of “Very few people with any knowledge” type of ointment for the provo’s ‘good name’.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    I though the posts above are nonsense. Yours included. You cannot expect to get away with supporting half baked theories, gossip and outright lies without getting pulled up on it.

    Makes you wonder whatever happened to Ivan Walton from Coleraine the Sinn Fein admirer. LOL

  • Davros

    Oh Glory, named – I’m terrified 🙂

  • New Yorker

    Dear Mick,

    Thank you for posting this important article. There certainly seems to be enough to conduct a full investigation. Do you have a legal procedure that compells people to give evidence and witness protection if they do give evidence and it is reaonable their lives are in danger if they do so? If not, is anyone over there proposing to introduce such laws?

  • mickhall

    By your post to Davros, it appears you felt there was something unusual about him changing his political opinions, thus you seem to be implying someone who changes their minds politically is betraying all that has gone before. Which I totally reject, our politics change for a host of reasons, personal and political, In my case it is because I do not believe the republican movement needs, nor deserves the absolute loyalty which is necessary during a period of armed struggle. Indeed I would go further, such blind loyalty is detrimental to the cause, a hindrance not a help. Is there a better example of this than some of those people who helped cover up the McCartney murder, who I have no doubt believed they were serving the movement by doing so. Sometimes it helps the struggle far more if one says No, this is wrong and then argues through the reasons why.

    Another point Pat, on the net you seem to have no respect for anyone’s opinions which do not replicate your own, indeed at times I feel you have contempt for all of us who do not have Gerry Adams written within our inner bodies as if we are are a stick of Blackpool rock.… I hope IM mistaken about this as it makes it difficult to exchange viewpoints with you, below is an example of what I mean. By the way Pat I do not post to slugger with malicious intent, but you seem to be implying here I do.I would be interested in any evidence you have that the RIRA killed Mr Burn’s.

    people I know in Castlewellan have told me that it was common knowledge that the RIRA killed Burns. But then again the common knowledge you have and the ‘everyone knows’ ramble of Cusack do dovetail very nicely.

    Posted by: Pat Mc Larnon “

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    I do respect posts and posters that try to deal with an element of the truth. Ivan Walton tried to project an image of himself as a person who respected SF personalities and policies. However in the lynch mob mentality that has gripped the site since Xmas, the mask has slipped and what has been revealed is not very pretty as a lot of his posts have slipped into personal invective.

    The Mc Cartney murder seems to have unleashed a wave of stories that are based on a mixture of rumours, gripes and outright lies. A lot of posters have then taken it upon themselves to weigh in behind those stories with phrases such as ‘ common knowledge’. A variation on ‘the dogs in the street’.

    Despite those phrases others choose not to accept the line of various journalists whose relationship with the truth is at best fleeting.

    I do not give much credence to every hood or family of a hood with a tale to tell. I choose to ask questions regarding all the circumstances.

    With a lot of these killings we have an awful lot of spin and rumour and an awful dearth of facts. When I get those facts and when i get them from someone with a bit of credibility I will give them due respect. Until then i will question motives and reason. As you say yourself on occasion it is good to get an alternative viewpoint.
    Alternative viewpoints to the lynch mob don’t seem to be very poopular on Slugger at this time.

  • vespasian

    Pat McLarnon = SF/IRA propaganda.

    We all know, sure I have lots of friends who told me he is actually GA posting under a nom de plume in his last attempts to salvage at least a vestige of credibility.

    Which friend’s do you believe now? Those that tell you what you want to hear as it suits your cause or those that tell the truth however unpalatable?

    If only PMcL was a little more subtle I could enjoy the spectacle.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    the challenge goes to you as well, produce some facts and we’ll debate them and we will see what conclusion we come to.
    But you wont produce facts on any of these cases. Quite simply because you dont have facts. You have the half truths and rumours to feed your own bias.
    Far better to write ‘Pat McLarnon = SF/IRA propaganda.’ Such a positive contribution.

  • maca

    vespasian, i think they call that ‘ball not man’.

    I think Pat has a fair point here. It’s been going on longer than the McCarthy case though. Perhaps it’s just a Northern trait (*wink*) but as soon as something happens everybody seems to know something about it and have their own theories which always seems to involve the usual players. In many cases they might be right but it’s a cockeyed approach. Like with the Northern robbery, rather than “who dunnit?” it was “obviously they dunnit!”

  • Moderate Unionist

    Pat & maca
    Time was when you could exchange views and discuss things but now it appears to be news management (or spin as it used to be called) by political movements.

    There is no real attempt to understand issues from different points of view. Every effort is made to distract honest debate.

    People are challenged to produce facts and proof, but in truth, everything depends upon context and perception is quite frequently more potent than reality.

    If people really want to solve the problems facing our communities they should be seeking to understand the other point of view within a wider context and to lead by example.

    The Northern Bank raid, and the McCartney murder have fundamentally changed the political environment. There may be no proof, but the perception is pretty strong. Acknowleding genuine concerns and attempting to deal with them in a straight forward manner would pay huge dividends.

  • Davros

    Oh dear Pat – I have no problems with the Dr Jekyll wing of Sinn Fein. It’s the Mr Hydes that I dislike and give a hard time 🙂 You know, the trolls like “ulsterman” that are sent here ……

  • vespasian

    Are Pat’s statements and opinions not fair game, as they are all the same SF/IRA good, everyone else bad.

    EG ‘people I know in Castlewellan have told me that it was common knowledge that the RIRA killed Burns.’ that isn’t fact it is hearsay at best, the very point I was trying to make – it is the same as ‘ We all know, sure I have lots of friends who told me he is actually GA posting under a nom de plume in his last attempts to salvage at least a vestige of credibility.’

    One statement is a credible as the other, it all depends on what you want to believe.

    I have asked him on several occasions to show one post where he has not agreed with SF actions or has said anything that was not in line with party policy.

    How many characters has he tried to blacken the list grows daily, I know propaganda when I see it.


    In PMcL’s case it is usually ‘it was anyone but us that dunnit’ or ‘if we did it wasn’t authorised’ or ‘it’s within we we call legal’

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    my posts are fair game. Just as everyone elses are fair game. That is when the problems arise. To even question the basis of a lot of these stories earns the sort of post of 9.57pm yesterday.

    Yopu are at it again with, ‘How many characters has he tried to blacken the list grows daily, I know propaganda when I see it.’

    That is a lie and consequently you are a liar.
    Again, the challenge goes out, produce facts. Not lies, gossip and innuendo and we will discuss. If you want to shout slogans go ahead Ivan and a few others will join in.

  • Davros

    I don’t think you are fooling anybody Patnip LOL

  • Observer
  • Mick

    Listen lads, can you just pack in the man playing! The provenance of the article is fair game. But attacking posters is not!

    Can we just roll back from a scrap between posters, and try to take it on in its own terms.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Seems like the Down Democrat must be a ‘provo front’ as it seems to have taken a different line from what is apparently ‘common knowledge.’

  • fair_deal


    How’s about these for facts?

    The RM said the PSNI were using the Robert McCartney murder to unfairly target republicans in the Markets and Short Strand area.

    The invovlement of IRA and SF members was reported in a number of outlets including “various journalists whose relationship with the truth is at best fleeting.” Lies rumours et al was shouted.

    After intense media pressure, the PIRA admitted involvement of its members and SF suspended a number of its members pending further investigation. A further three members of Sinn Fein in the bar at the time of a throat slashing have yet to provide statements of any evidential value or admissible in a court.

    All facts. So hence I am prepared to give “every hood or family of a hood” and by the looks of it in this case an ordinary bloke’s family a fair hearing.

    If any mask has slipped it is to reveal the face of an organisation increaingly brutalising its own community and prepared to lie about it.

    If any mask has slipped it is to reveal a pro-agreement media that was perfectly prepared to look the other way for murder after murder