“I wrote a letter to a prominent republican with connections in the republican movement”

For a second time, the re-trial of Nick Mullen, 61, from Acton, west London, and Máirtín’s “mate”, Ronald McCartney, 56, from Belfast, in the Provisional IRA extortion case has ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict – “A CPS spokeswoman said a decision had not yet been taken on whether there would be a retrial.” The first trial began in January 2009 and, as previously noted, McCartney’s early release licence was revoked by Shaun Woodward in May 2008. And from an earlier post, the defence case again.

[McCartney] claimed that he had been attempting to patch up a dispute between a bankrupt businessman called Declan O’Hara and one of the alleged victims. McCartney told Southwark Crown Court that O’Hara had been so furious with the man — who had Sinn Fein connections — that he had blackmailed the party. He claimed that O’Hara had threatened to contact the DUP with false information about Sinn Fein which would be potentially damaging to the entire political settlement.

McCartney said he decided to threaten the businessmen in a bid to alert senior Sinn Fein members so that the problem would be resolved “within the republican family”. McCartney said: “This was a risky strategy. “I believed he (O’Hara) has suffered from mental illness, and was very dangerous. I did not go to the police. “I advised him to seek psychiatric help.”

He added: “I had studied politics in Ireland for 40 years and I believed that this here had the potential to undermine the peace process. “I wrote a letter to a prominent republican with connections in the republican movement, and hoped that he would be angry and deal with it. “I believed that this here would be resolved internally within the republican family. It’s a high-risk strategy, it’s a stupid strategy , it was ham-fisted, but I believed it was the only thing that would work.”