[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 21:24 GMT
McCartneys continue fight in US
The McCartney sisters pictured upon arrival in the US
The sisters said they wanted to dispel any 'romantic visions'
The family of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney have arrived in the US to continue their fight for justice.

They insist the IRA was involved in the murder, with one of them accusing Sinn Fein of being part of a cover-up.

His sister Catherine said they wanted to dispel any "romantic vision" that Americans may have of the IRA struggle.

"We are now dealing with criminal gangs who are using the cloak of romanticism around the IRA to murder people on the streets and walk away from it."

She added: "We are going to bring that reality home to Americans who have political and financial influence in Ireland."

Speaking upon landing in the US, Ms McCartney said that the republican "struggle in terms of what it was 10 years ago is now over".

The family plans to give President Bush a dossier on the events before and after her brother's murder when the family met him on St Patrick's Day.

Robert McCartney, 33, was killed near Belfast city centre
Robert McCartney, 33, was killed near Belfast city centre

Mr McCartney, 33, was stabbed to death after a row in a Belfast bar on 30 January.

The McCartney sisters are due to meet President Bush on Thursday and will also hold talks with Senators Edward Kennedy and Hillary Clinton during their visit.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has criticised the police handling of the murder inquiry.

Martin McGuinness accused the police of "unprecedented and incredible delays" in questioning key suspects and witnesses just to damage his party.

Mr McGuinness said it had been "a fairly incredible series of events".

"Two people, one of whom was with Robert McCartney, offered himself up for questioning by the PSNI and was told to come back in a few days," he said.

"More incredibly, we are told that a person that the PSNI have been seeking as one of the chief suspects in the murder also decided yesterday to make himself available to the PSNI.

"He was told that the PSNI weren't ready to speak to him and told his lawyer to come back in a few days - I find this absolutely incredible."

MCCARTNEYS' US SCHEDULE
Wednesday 10am EST: State Department meeting with US envoy to NI
11am: Meeting Senator Ted Kennedy
7pm: Gala dinner organised by American/Ireland Fund
Thursday 9.30am: arrival at White House for St Patrick's Day reception

Three men were expelled by the IRA after the killing, including the two main suspects in the case.

The man alleged to have stabbed Mr McCartney was interviewed by police last week and later released.

It is understood that he did not speak during his time in police custody.

A second man is alleged to have provided the murder weapon and to have destroyed evidence, including the knife and a video tape taken from the bar.

He has not yet been questioned by detectives, but the BBC understands that his solicitor contacted police on Tuesday.

It is believed that detectives will speak to him at a time they consider appropriate in the context of their investigation.

A PSNI spokesman earlier said: "This is very much a live police investigation into a particularly brutal murder and it's not appropriate to discuss specific issues regarding witnesses or suspects.

"Police refute the distractions which have been peddled. Our sole interest is to bring to justice the killer of Mr McCartney and give closure to the family."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Sisters aim to "bring reality home to Americans"



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific