Tuesday, March 08, 2005

McCartney Justice Watch

On Monday, the New York Times finally published an article on the brutal murder of Belfast resident Robert McCartney by IRA thugs. While not as detailed as the Washington Post's account from last week, the Times piece gives a good overview of the backlash among the Catholic community against the IRA's brutality:

In the Catholic neighborhoods of Belfast, the Irish Republican Army has long served as judge, jury and, in some cases, executioner, meting out its own brand of vigilante justice. Catholics who defy the I.R.A.'s dictates end up with broken kneecaps. Those who betray the I.R.A. wind up dead.

But now five sisters are turning that tradition upside down, spurred by the extraordinarily brutal killing on Jan. 30 of their brother, Robert McCartney, and what is widely seen as a subsequent I.R.A. cover-up.

The wave of revulsion generated by the McCartney murder has put the IRA on the defensive. Last Thursday, Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, announced it had suspended seven members suspected of involvement in the crime. Sinn Fein head Gerry Adams has even taken the unprecedented step of giving the names of the seven to a police ombudsman.

Unfortunately, these are empty gestures. The problem is not finding out the identities of the murderers, for these are widely known in the community. The problem is getting eyewitnesses to come forward and testify against them without fear of reprisal. The only way that justice can be done is for the IRA to unconditionally disown the murderers of Robert McCartney, and guarantee that anyone who testifies against them will be safe from retaliation.

(Thanks to Brainster's Blog, for linking to my first post on this story. His site has a lot more on this issue, just keep scrolling.)


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