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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
Family 'abused' over leaflet drop
Magennis's Bar
Sinn Fein's Deirdre Hargey was in this bar the night of the murder
The family of Robert McCartney have said they were forced to abandon handing out leaflets calling for support for a vigil in his memory.

Paula McCartney said they were handing out leaflets in the Short Strand area of Belfast on Wednesday when they were confronted by about a dozen people.

She said abuse was shouted at them and they were told to get out of the area.

Paula said it was a very threatening situation and that the family had made a complaint to the police.

"They were screaming and shouting abuse and telling us to get out of the district," she said.

Paula, Gemma, Donna and Clare McCartney along with Mr McCartney's partner, Bridgeen Hagan, were distributing leaflets seeking support for a vigil outside Magennis's Bar in Belfast.

Mr McCartney had been involved in a row in the bar on 30 January and was later found stabbed to death near the bar.

Paula said the crowd which gathered as they distributed the leaflets "tried to provoke us into physical confrontation but we did not rise to it".

The family is seeking a vigil to remember Robert
The family is seeking a vigil to remember Robert

"This was blatant discrimination, very loud and threatening and they were trying to blacken Robert's name," she said.

Earlier, it emerged that a Sinn Fein member who was suspended pending a party probe into events surrounding Mr McCartney's murder will not now stand for election.

Deirdre Hargey had been selected to run in Belfast's Laganbank ward as one of two Sinn Fein city council candidates.

Ms Hargey, who was in Magennis's Bar on the night of the murder, has told a solicitor she saw nothing.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said Ms Hargey had been suspended without prejudice and that was why she was not standing.

The party has now only nominated one candidate for the area.

So far, police investigating the murder of the 33-year-old father of two have arrested and questioned 12 men, all of whom were released without charge.

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


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