Sunday, June 05, 2005

Good News from Belfast

On Friday, authorities in Belfast announced the arrest of two men in connection with the vicious murder of Robert McCartney by IRA thugs last January. For McCartney's five sisters, who have waged a heroic, tireless campaign for justice on their brother's behalf, the news was unexpected but welcome:

"We hope it will lead to further arrests, because there were more than two people involved. We still have a long way to go in terms of a trial and convictions," said Catherine McCartney. "We are happy this has happened, but we know it is by no means over."

The Irish Republican Army initially denied involvement, then admitted its members committed the attack after facing public pressure from McCartney's five sisters and fiancee.

Since then members of the IRA and its allied Sinn Fein party have faced criticism internationally for allegedly covering up evidence and refusing to cooperate with the police investigation.

The two men, who were arrested Wednesday, are the first to face charges in the case. They were among a dozen suspects detained previously and released without charge after refusing to answer questions.

The main obstacle to the investigation has been the climate of fear and intimidation created by the IRA. The fact that the authorities have enough evidence to charge at least two of the perpetrators is a hopeful sign that witnesses might finally be coming forward. This is a good beginning, but all of those involved in the McCartney murder must be charged and brought to justice.


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