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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 05:32 GMT
Victim's family reject IRA offer
Robert McCartney
Robert McCartney, 33, was killed near Belfast city centre
The family of Belfast murder victim Robert McCartney have rejected an IRA offer to shoot his killers.

The IRA offered to shoot those directly involved in the 33-year-old's death after a row in a bar on 30 January, and has given the family their names.

But Mr McCartney's cousin, Gerard Quinn, said: "I think the feeling is that to shoot and possibly kill these people is revenge and not justice.

"And revenge is not what the family is looking for."

A five-page statement from the IRA on Tuesday said the McCartney family had met the organisation twice and made it clear they did not want physical action taken against those involved.

There is no place for those who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement for the sort of arbitrary justice and murder that is being suggested here
Paul Murphy
Secretary of State

The IRA said it had given the family the names of the man who stabbed Mr McCartney and a second man who supplied removed and destroyed the murder weapon.

Both these men have been expelled by the IRA.

The republican organisation said it had also spoken directly to key eye witnesses and told them they had nothing to fear from the IRA.

Secretary of State Paul Murphy said he was appalled by the offer.

"There is no place for those who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement for the sort of arbitrary justice and murder that is being suggested here," he said.

DUP leader Ian Paisley called for the leaders of Sinn Fein to be arrested following the IRA statement.

"The offer to shoot those responsible for the murder of Robert McCartney confirms again that terrorism is the only stock and trade of Sinn Fein/IRA," he said.

The IRA just don't get it do they? These dinosaurs must go.
Richard Atkins, Wortham, UK

Sinn Fein Justice Spokesman Gerry Kelly said that the statement was useful to the family, but that had the shooting been carried out it would have been "unacceptable".

"Sinn Fein's position is very clear, on punishments, it's clear they shouldn't happen," he said.

Senior Ulster Unionist Sir Reg Empey said the statement proved the IRA had "clearly learnt nothing over recent weeks" and SDLP MP Eddie McGrady condemned the IRA proposal as "obscene".

Alliance Party assembly member Councillor Naomi Long said the IRA's offer was "barbaric", adding it was "a real credit to the McCartney sisters that they rejected this outrageous offer".

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland David Lidington, said it was for the courts to decide guilt and pass sentences.

"The republican movement should place all the evidence from its internal investigation in the hands of the police and the courts," he said.

The IRA expelled three members over the murder and Sinn Fein subsequently suspended seven of its members.

Robert McCartney's cousin gives his reaction

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