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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Families discuss justice campaign
Gemma, Paula and Catherine McCartney
The McCartney sisters are seeking justice for their brother's death
The family of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney have met relatives of a Dublin courier allegedly killed by members of the IRA.

Joe Rafferty's relatives discussed their campaign for justice with Mr McCartney's family in the Short Strand area of east Belfast.

Mr Rafferty, 29, was murdered in April. His sister, Esther Uzell, said it was part of a family feud.

She claimed the killer was an IRA man, who was being protected by republicans.

Esther is working with Bart Little, Joe Rafferty's brother-in-law to bring the killer to justice.

Relatives of Mr McCartney said the IRA intimidation campaign against them was intensifying.

They said republicans were responsible for beating up a close friend of their murdered brother in Belfast on Monday.


About 150 people gathered outside his partner's house in east Belfast's Short Strand on Wednesday in support of the family.

They were also supporting their friend Jeff Commander.

Sinn Fein denied republicans were responsible for attacking him and splitting his head.

His wife, Sinead, said: "They tried to murder him. They came like the Ku Klux Klan."

Robert's sister Paula also said republicans were using the distraction of recent loyalist violence to step up their attempts to drive them out.

On Tuesday night, a crowd picketed the home where Robert McCartney's partner Bridgeen Hagans and her children live. The family are blaming republicans.

Sinn Fein called for an end to all intimidation of the family and the party insisted no members of the IRA were involved.

Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed outside a Belfast pub in January.

Mr McCartney's sisters and partner have held a number of meetings with high profile politicians in their campaign for justice over the killing.

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