McCartney attackers go after friend…

Last post of the evening. The (London) Times reports an attack in which it alleges that men involved in the murder of Robert McCartney have severely beaten his friend Geoff Commander. His sister Catherine McCartney further alleged that: “The same men who were involved in Robert’s murder are walking around this area in a show of strength. They’re demonstrating that, in spite of all the talk that they have been put out of the IRA. They haven’t”.

Update: McKittrick believes the IRA of using riots as cover.

  • Denny Boy

    Revolting. This was always going to be the problem with IRA decommissioning. How do you decommission a stair rod?

    What’s the answer to such thuggery?

  • wes

    This incident followed another fight earlier in the evening

  • pacart

    Let me guess at the RM’s response, either, “whatabout loyalist rioting, that’s the real problem” or “you can’t prove it”. For “The Markets” read “Little Sicily”

  • Brian Boru

    As I understand from RTE Radio 1 this morning, those involved in this were not ordered to do it by the IRA.

  • Henry94

    Brian Boru

    Indeed if they are in the IRA they are acting in contradiction of orders and should be expelled.

    There is no doubt that this incident will be used to draw attention away from the loyalist violence. How many threads were started here for example about the Catholic man who was beaten up by loyalists last week. That’s fair enough in a unionist site but the mainstream media will take the same position.

  • offer it up

    What a lot of nonsense. Is every scuffle, fight or drunken scrap involving republicans going to be attributed to the IRA? Next thing you know it will be a breach of the IRA ceasefire if:
    a Sinn Féin voter is caught drink-driving OR a Catholic is caught doing the double OR an ex-prisoner steals a packet of Fruit Pastilles from the local Spar?

    These self-serving elements who incredibly describe themselves as members nationalist community – like Alisdair McDonnell – should be treated with the contempt of ignorance. I’m loathe to give them the oxygen of publicity they crave.

    Whilst the Republican Movement can’t possibly be held responsible for the actions of individuals (particular after ‘the statement’) anyone who is associated with the RM and involved in this type of activity has no role whatsoever to play in the RM and should be told so.

  • overhere

    well said offer it up and Henry 94 my thoughts exactly.

  • Syd East

    offer it up

    You always love to be the VICTIMS

  • Macswiney

    Well said Henry. For those interested, 29 year old John McKay is now recovering in hospital following his attack by 10 “loyalists” the night before the weekend spree of destruction and robbery.

    As for Slugger,Mick, I share the view that the lack of threads on the loyalist violence has been one of Sluggers least reputable moments. The site was devoid of any tangible threads for several days during some of the worst violence for many years. If we contrast this to the vast number of leading threads at the time of the McCartney/Northern Bank events, it is hard to substantiate that political balance has been observed.

  • VICTOR1

    The incident involving John McKay didn’t recieve half the publicity this non-event has, but I suppose it’s ok for a Catholic to be attacked and nearly murdered by Loyalists.

  • Mick Fealty

    Macswiney,

    I note your comments. Not an excuse really, but I was out of touch with the PC over the weekend, and we were three days in before I got properly back on the horse so to speak.

    Normally I try to get away from Slugger for much of August – when most of the sectarian violence took place. So I didn’t perhaps have my finger on the pulse in the way I normally might.

    Balance in coverage is a tricky question – all truth is objective and all that. Writing Slugger before November 2003 was relatively easy. There were several loyalist fueds, or rumours of fueds. But most of what we focused on was politics, and not street politics – which are always contentious however you decide to report them.

    Most of the comment was focused on the debate within Unionism. That’s where all the copy was being generated. Slugger had a much lower profile too.

    Then, after the Assembly election, there was a hiatus. For a long time nothing happened (of any political consquence, the dullness of the Euro election underlined that somewhat) until Leeds Castle last September.

    There was some excitment and genuine feeling amongst commentators who are not normally given to uncontrolled bouts of optimism or pessimism that real politics was going to restart.

    It didn’t happen. And frankly, neither of the two main parties concerned have been particularly open about why it did fail. But fail it did.

    Then the robbery happened. 12 days or so after the deal had collapsed. In the political vacuum, the fingers of the media inevitably pointed directly at the Republican Movement.

    As I inadvertently blurted out to Sinn Fein member recently, the image created in the public mind (not the unionist public mind, or the RM’s usual roster of critics, they were already convinced) of the Republican movement was that of bank robbers – however much that does a real disservice to many of those who had worked hard to create serious political capacity within the party.

    Now, whatever else it was, that was a significant political development, with important consequences for everyone.

    As for the McCartney issue, as Niall O’Dowd rightly predicted, it effectively died on the 18th March – the day after the sisters’ visit to the Whitehouse.

    It would likely have remained so, if it were not for this incident. I have no way of predicting whether it will re-ignite, and carry on causing the movement further embarrassment, or dying back down as it did before. But when it happened, there was no question but that Slugger would pick it up and give it air.

    What I’m taking the long way round the houses to say is that this is an important political story. As is the position of the Orange Order in calling a march apparently in knowledge of what could happen.

    That’s not to say that the story of the Catholic man that Henry mentions is not important, nor the head injury caused to a baby boy when protestant rioters attacked his mother’s car last weekend. They are. But surely you can accept that this story is first and foremost political?

    For good or ill, I make choices as to what I believe is significant in the news. Those choices are not intended to be definative. I would encourage those people who dissent from it to continue to argue their corner, and even set up their own blogs and add to the wider conversation and battle over the meaning of these and future events.

  • VICTOR1

    Sorry Mick, I never made my post totally clear, I was refering to the media in general, look at todays Irish News and the Daily Mirror, head line news of the assault on mr McCartneys friend, John McKay was also a friend of Rab McCartney but he was assaulted by Loyalist, it barely made the press!

  • Henry94

    Mick

    i But surely you can accept that this story is first and foremost political?

    Stories are not entirely political or non-political by their nature. It is politicans and the media who generate a political reaction and if an attack on an innocent Catholic by loyalists is “not political” then it says more about media bias than anything else.

  • Denny Boy

    Yes, Mick, there’s been much skewed logic shown above.

    The McCartneys have again been targeted by Cro-Magnons of the IRA. Just because the Orange Order and their camp followers engage in a weekend of destruction doesn’t mean we can’t condemn republican brutality.

  • VICTOR1

    I fully accept it’s been made a political story, but the same focus placed on the attack on Mr McKay could also have produced a political story, I’m not running from the the attack carried out on Mr. McCartney’s friend and have condemned it outright in other posts on slugger, my concern is the assault last night was no more an attack by a group of thugs than the attack on Mr. McKay and should be given the same credence in publicity, those who attacked Mr. McCartney’s friend last night are the same politically defunct imbeciles as those that attacked Mr. McKay.

  • Macswiney

    Mick,

    Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed reply. I was’nt so much concentrating on the lack of coverage of the attack on the young man in Short Strand, rather it was the lack of threads initiated regarding the large level of violence at the weekend. In particular, the response to that violence by just about every recognised level of leadership within the Unionist community. At grassroots level within nationalist areas there is outrage and what appeared to be unspoken approval of much of this violence by significant elements within Unionism. The decision by Reg Empey and Ian Paisley not to issue outright condemnation on Sunday must have been like a red rag to a bull to those who went out and weaved a similar web of destruction on Sunday night.

    I would agree that the McCartney case had huge political implications at the time, but I think the complete abdication of responsibility at the weekend by unionist leaders also has strong implications for this process. i.e How can the DUP send Jeffrey Donalson to South America to promote an International consensus on terrorism, when one of its own councillors (Ruth Patterson) refuses to condemn the burning of vehicles, mass gun attacks on the police and the destruction of property. Hypocrisy is a word which springs to mind.

    I think Slugger has a tendancy to produce perhaps too many leading threads from the same individuals, many of whom are of a similar political viewpoint. I would encourage you to perhaps take a look at how that might be expanded a little.

    It is not a criticism of the site as a whole as I greatly enjoy using it, but I would still maintain that last weekends events have not merited a balanced level of coverage.

    Thanks for replying and listening. Take Care.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    Regarding the attack on the guy from the SS – I condemn this totally. The truth of the matter is though that this stetch of road is a no-go area for Protestants – especially at the weekend. Countless Protestants have been attacked here. I’ve seen Catholic youths ambusing People on their way home from town, having their purses stolen and beaten up etc. A number of Australian tourists were seriously attacked here – being mistaken for Protestants. A young woman was also recently attacked. Is this the behaviour of a community under seige?

  • Antrim Springfarm

    “At grassroots level within nationalist areas there is outrage and what appeared to be unspoken approval of much of this violence by significant elements within Unionism”

    Gerry Adams has never once condemned the actions of the IRA which has done a lot worse than this yet Nationalists vote for him in their droves. Most of SF have a terrorist past. Wake up and smell the hypocrisy!!

  • MACSWINEY

    Springfarm,

    Clearly your journeys to the area where I live are few and far between. Every single day (and evening) members of both communities happily use this stretch of road and thankfully attacks on isolated individuals from whichever community are not the norm.

    Unfortunately you have actually defeated your argument with your own comments. You state that “this stretch of road is a no go area of protestants”. Well all I can say is that it was certainly not a “no-go” area for the 10 young protestants who came out of the city centre on Friday Night, passing the Markets, along East Bridge Street before spotting John Mckay and attacking him at the corner of Short Strand and The Albert Bridge. The difference between Gerry Adams and The DUP is that Adams is not flying to Columbia to set up an international consensus on terrorism. The DUP cant have it both ways. If ruth Patterson supports the violence then she has no right to get hypocritical about Republicans.

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    I’d love the time to push this one further. But I don’t have it. Suffice to say that I agree that the media has an important role in determining the play of politics. Ideally, that is primarily about ‘speaking truth to power’.

    Regretably the media often takes too cynical a view of politicians and political life. But it would also be pretty poor if it sought to create political balance in stories where none was to be found.

    What if the 68/9 had been reported with the kind of balance Unionist politicians were demanding at the time?

    (That’s a rhetorical question btw) I’ve got to pull myself off the pitch and try and earn some cash – this Sluggering business is not good for cash flow!

    The topic is certainly worth coming back to, when I find the time.

  • TAFKABO

    I would like to see the absolute proof that it was a bunch of protestants that attacked John McKay.

    So far all we had heard is something about people running in a certain direction.
    Given this mans connections with Robert McCartney there is motive for him to be attacked by republican elements.

    It seems to me that people are stating something as an absolute certainty when it is far from proven.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    I agree that there is a huge debate to be had about the media and balance. I also think that Slugger and other blogs can play a leading riole in that. Indded the blogsphere in the US already has.

    But it would also be pretty poor if it sought to create political balance in stories where none was to be found.

    You are confusing me slightly here. On the one hand you were saying that you were not around to cover the loyalist violence

    Not an excuse really, but I was out of touch with the PC over the weekend, and we were three days in before I got properly back on the horse so to speak.

    which is perfectly reasonable. But are you saying that on some level the assults we are talking about don’t merit similar levels of coverage?

    What if the 68/9 had been reported with the kind of balance Unionist politicians were demanding at the time?

    After today I’m certainly willing to agree that we should have had more Orange Order press conferences over the years. In fact if it was up to me I’d give those two comedians their own show.

  • VICTOR1

    I would like to see the absolute proof that it was a bunch of protestants that attacked John McKay.

    There is as much proof as there was when the IRA robbed the Northern bank!

  • TAFKABO

    Really ?

    Have the police said that they know the persons involved?
    Have the IMC, the police board and the two governments seen the evidence?

  • Antrim Springfarm

    MACSWINEY – So you seen these lads walking along and doing this? And you know it was Prods?

    I know the area well. Yes people can walk it during daylight hours – but not at night; they are too scared given the recent incidents I described above. Am I making this up??? think not

    Some seige!

  • fair_deal

    “McKittrick believes the IRA of using riots as cover.”

    There were a series of racist attacks in a republican estate in Dungannon and anti-Protestant sectarian attacks in Londonderry and Belfast so the McCartney stuff wasn’t the only thing going on while Loyalists were rioting.

  • VICTOR1

    TAFKABO….
    Yes really, not one single shread of evidence in relation to the IRAs involvement in the Northern bank robbery was produced, but in the case of John, the perpetrators danced on his head calling him a Fenian Bastard and when a local taxi driver drove his car at them the ran off up the Ravenhill Rd I would say there is evidence there to substantiate the claims that Loyalists were involved.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    Not conclusive Victor. The finger of suspicion does lie with the provos for this one. But then again it could be ‘loyalists’. Either way it should be condemned completely.

  • VICTOR1

    I think you will find AS that the victim has clearly pointed the finger in the direction of Loyalists as his attackers! Thankfully he is now out of hospital and well on his way to making a full recovery from his injurys.

  • Brian Boru

    Antrim Springfarm, Geoff Commander was on RTE Radio 1 today and he said that he understand that it wasn’t the IRA ordering the attack and that the IRA were “disgusted” at the attack. Just clearing that up.

  • lamh_dearg

    pacart

    “Let me guess at the RM’s response, either, “whatabout loyalist rioting”
    Psychic, man, and it only took a few posts.

    offer it up

    “Is every scuffle, fight or drunken scrap involving republicans going to be attributed to the IRA? Next thing you know it will be a breach of the IRA ceasefire if:
    a Sinn Féin voter is caught drink-driving OR a Catholic is caught doing the double OR an ex-prisoner steals a packet of Fruit Pastilles from the local Spar?”

    There is a slight difference between stealing a packet of Fruit Pastilles and assaulting someone as part of an ongoing campaign to pervert the course of justice and help a murderer remain free to terrorise. Even Henry 94 realises that this case remains a disgrace to the RM and will be held against it until it is dealt with i.e. until the murderers are in prison. Until then, given the lack of effective cooperation from the RM it is entirely just that it is brought up again and again, regardless of anything else.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    Well Brian/Victor using your logical you cannot blame the INDIVIDUAL OO MEMBERS WHO WERE SEEN ATTACKING THE POLICE. After all, they were not ordered by the OO to do so; so why blame the OO for the violence???

    Your logic is flawed.

  • slug

    Update: here is a bbc link on this continuing news item.

  • timmy

    This latest dispute arose when the husband of one of the McCartney sisters and his brother verbally confronted one of the people who they alleged was in the bar the night of the murder.

    Words were exchanged and a fight followed.Sticks were used by the 2 brothers and a a bottle was produced by the other side.

    Geoff Commander was viciously beaten a short time later.Mr Commander had acted as a calming figure during the initial comfrontation, along with a veteran republican.

    The attack on Mr Commander was unprovoked and unwarranted.

  • VICTOR1

    INDIVIDUAL OO MEMBERS WHO WERE SEEN ATTACKING THE POLICE

    Am I missing something here, I thought the OO stated none of thier members were involved in attacking the police, seems Dawson and the boys were wrong then if AS is to be believed, I feel it’s your duty AS to assist the OO in thier enquirys and point these people out as they seem to have missed what you witnessed!

  • Antrim Springfarm

    I think we all seen the tv pictures VICTOR; I think you are just trying to be mishievious here.

    But I think you have given up the right to talk about morals when you advocate shooting innocent Protestants in your posts.

    I don’t know who the OO were, but I would report them if I did.
    Maybe you should turn in those who attacked Mr Commander in the SS?. I mean it’s a small ‘enclave’ the SS. Everyone knows what goes on.

  • pol

    I don’t know what happened to the friend of the mcCartney’s, but there will always be two sides to the story. And there’s where the reporter fails in his or hers duty to the public. By only reporting half a story gives those with an axe to grind the opportunity to make up the other half.

  • VICTOR1

    Maybe you should turn in those who attacked Mr Commander in the SS?.

    I think you’ll find Mr Commander has already done so, he was much best placed to do so, he was there after all, I on the otherhand was not!

    I think we all seen the tv pictures VICTOR; I think you are just trying to be mishievious here.

    Sorry AS but Mr Saulters and his sidekick Mr Baillie seemed to miss that one, I was merely poining out that maybe you should give them some assistance!

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “there will always be two sides to the story”

    Not if you kick him hard enough.

  • eire og

    I’m afraid this story will run until the Sinn Fein leadership is seen to more visibly side with the McCartney family.

    This latest incident in the Strand is down to the provocation of the murdering scum that killed McCartney. Their wider family circle are leading this campaign- not Sinn Fein. In fact, these people vocally berated and hounded Alex Maskey when he canvassed the area with the locals prior to May’s elections.

    However, what I want to see- as a Sinn Fein member- is the local Sinn Fein representative and a more high profile elected figure attending rallies like the one tonight in support of the fella Commander and his wife.

    It’s the right thing to do and should be done forthwith.

  • VICTOR1

    eire og, I would like to point out that is near on impossible, the rally tonight was ad hoc and was confined to close personal freinds,barely anyone else in the Strand new of it.

  • eire og

    Victor1

    That may be the case, but when people became aware of it- most particularly fellow republicans- then they should have had the sense to go out and stand with the people supporting the family.

    You and I are only too aware of how this episode has damaged the republican cause throughout Ireland and beyond.

    I’m also sensitive to the local politics around the issue- I know republicans are angry that the family have frustrated many efforts on behalf of republicans to show support for them and have publicly put us in the dock; but when you consider what a number of former republicans did to their brother, you and I shouldn’t be surprised.

    In the end, we need to be seen in the Strand to support the family against the group of families who are intent on removing them from the area.

    Really, it comes down to Short Strand and Belfast republicans choosing between the future of republicanism and loyalty to some long-standing supporters and former friends. I know this much, Victor, republicans in my area know the answer and consider it a no-brainer. It’s about time the party and movement where you are did likewise. Only this will bring an end to this sorry saga.

  • Dec

    Eire og

    Just who are you talking about when you refer to ‘murdering scum’ and ‘their wider family circle’?

  • eire og

    Dec

    I’m referring to those known to have killed McCartney and their relatives who have been busy not only dragging republicanism’s name through the gutter for the past 9 months, but also who heckled party canvassers in the Strand in April/ May and whom since have had a number of skirmishes- and more- with relatives and supporters of the McCartney campaign.

    I hope that clarifies it for you, Dec

  • Dec

    No, not really. you seem very specific. Who is it you’re talking about?

  • VICTOR1

    Eire og, I fully agree that the Republican movement has been damaged by the murder of Rab McCartney and in particular the existing media campaign. Leading members of the Republican family have stood shoulder to shoulder with the family in thier quest for justice, the problem here is as you so rightly stated, “the family have frustrated many efforts on behalf of republicans to show support for them and have publicly put us in the dock” the family alnog with the media put the whole Republican family in the dock and not the individuals resposible for their brothers murder, the murder was Wrong, Evil, and cowardly but is the whole Movement responsible and to be held accountable, I think not! I have had a number of members of my family murdered over the years I also would like justice for them, it won’t happen! many many familys seek justice for the murder of loved ones, they will not get justice, good luck to the McCartney family in their quest, I only wish my family could call on the same support and media circus when our quest for justice for our murdered loved ones was launched!

  • dave

    It is widely known that family members of those accused of involvement in the the murder of McCartney heckled and abused Gerry Adams and sinn Fein election workers during the election campaign in May.

    They were unhappy that they had been ejected from Sinn Fein,

    It is also well known that a similar situation exists within certain families who’s members were put out of the ira for their involvement in the murder and cover up.

    These people seem to have formed some sort of joined grouping and are doing as they wish.

    How you resolve this situation, i honestly don’t know.

    The police don’t seem to be able to act and nor do the republican movement

  • pol

    I hope the McCartney family get closure.

    I also hope the same for lisa Dorrian’s family.

    Two family’s with a lot in common, except one family’s death has been turned into a political football.

    And the other, well it speaks for it’s self.

  • Sydney East

    Is it true vic that John McKay was a fund raiser for the McCartney Family and is it also true that if it hadn’t been for a brawl between Republicans on the ss green that Geoff Commander might not have been here to hell the story. A lot of attacks on this family and their friends over the last few days. By Who ?

  • MACSWINEY

    Sydney East,

    As you may or may not know from my many posts I live in Short Strand and I know of no information to suggest that John McKay was ever a fund raiser for the McCartney family. This is complete twaddle. I played football with John regularly and know him very well. In any case what on earth has this got to do with the McCartneys. I passed the scene of the attack on Saturday morning at 11.30 am and the police forensic team were scraping up bits of blood and taking statements from local residents. The detective on call was in absolute know doubt that this was a sectarian attack. (a11 10 of the attackers escaped up Ravenhill Road).

  • MACSWINEY

    Sydney East,

    As you may or may not know from my many posts I live in Short Strand and I know of no information to suggest that John McKay was ever a fund raiser for the McCartney family. This is complete twaddle. I played football with John regularly and know him very well. In any case what on earth has this got to do with the McCartneys. I passed the scene of the attack on Saturday morning at 11.30 am and the police forensic team were scraping up bits of blood and taking statements from local residents. The detective on call was in absolutely no doubt that this was a sectarian attack. (a11 10 of the attackers escaped up Ravenhill Road).

  • VICTOR1

    Sydney East, And the Riots at the weekend were carried out by the Republican movement! And Dawson REALLY meant CONDONE or CONDEMN or, oh whatever! Fantasy

  • Fred Flintstone

    1st. MACSWINEY- Local residents seen all this happening at that time in the morning through the trees and the bushes that front their houses, and your that close to Dibble at the scene for him to pass on to you that information (The detective on call was in absolutely no doubt that this was a sectarian attack. (a11 10 of the attackers escaped up Ravenhill Road).)before he had even viewed cctv footage from the camera on the corner?

    2nd. VICTOR1- Don’t think I mentioned any sort of riots just that republicans had a brawl on the green to see who got the gun. I take it it’s true seeing you didn’t say other wise, but went off on a ramble about loyalists riots. Maybe its also true then that these stupid riots were used as cover to attack the McCartney’s and their supports by blocking of Clandeboye Gardens with a car and by using an Illegal Street Protest ( Duncan ACC for Belfast take note) to blocking traffic on the Mountpottinger Rd at the entry leading to Clandeboye Dr.

  • VICTOR1

    Fred Flintstone/Sydney East(or whoever you are) : My comment in respect to the riots was flippant, to address the poinst your making: YES the riots were organised byt the IRA so they could attack the McCartneys! And YES Republicans blocked Rds in Illegal st protests, oh and YES Republicans robbed the bank on the Alberbridge Rd trailing the bank machine from the wall and they are now in Clandeboye counting the proceeds, and YES Republicans robbed the elderly women in Bagor, taking them off a church bus, robbing thier belongings and seting foire to the bus leaving them at the isde of the road in a riot situation: OH and YES pigs do fly! Should I condone or condemn pigs flying! How does one carry a ceremonial sword?

  • Sydney East

    Blame/Blame/Blame/. Think your running at the mouth vic and its affecting your head and your finger. I’ll say it again our failure to answer to answer in a sensible manner SHOUTS volumes and says a lot. Oh it was my partner her in Dub once from the Strand who answered your last post she certainly got you rumbled. Now I’m really suspicious about the McKay attack. By the way I also was brought up in your area and read the Sunday Life article from John and sorry his story doesn’t ring true.

    Sydney and Fred