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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Republicans heckle Sinn Fein
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams has made a complaint to the Irish government

Sinn Fein politicians say they have been heckled about the murder of Robert McCartney but this time by other republicans.

Party president Gerry Adams and East Belfast candidate Alex Maskey were reportedly harangued whilst canvassing in the Markets area on the edge of Belfast city centre on Tuesday.

During the incident Sinn Fein claims they were verbally abused by people who disagreed with Gerry Adams' call for people to make statements about the Robert McCartney murder.

The 33-year-old father of two died in hospital after he was stabbed following a row in a Belfast bar on 30 January.

The case threw republicanism into internal turmoil with the IRA offering at one stage to shoot the killers as Mr McCartney's family waged a high profile campaign to bring them to justice before the courts.

Strong feelings

Four members of Sinn Fein resigned following Mr Adams' call for co-operation from anyone who was in and around Magennis' bar at the time of the killing.

Six other have been suspended until the party's executive meets.

Alex Maskey confirmed details of the incident during the BBC's election 2005 webcast.

He said: "We were challenged yesterday, in fact Gerry Adams was directly challenged by some relatives of republicans who have been caught up in the events surrounding the terrible murder of Robert McCartney."

Lots of people feel they have been demonised and their community has been demonised
Gerry Adams

Mr Maskey said the incident proved that strong feelings had been provoked by his party's attempts to do everything in its power to help the McCartney family in their search for justice.

Mr Adams has also spoken about the fracas.

He said: "I was barracked by some women who obviously disagree with the stand our party has taken in terms of the murder of Robert McCartney.

"Particularly my call for people to come forward with full and frank statements, and also when I gave names that were given to me to the Police Ombudsman.

"I can understand their position. The big focus, clearly and quite rightly, is on the murder of Robert McCartney, but there are lots of families traumatised by the fallout of this and lots of people feel they have been demonised and their community has been demonised.

"When I went to the Markets it was no great surprise that there would be a protest by some people there."



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