Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Outrage as Belfast murder pub named after icon Ronnie Drew

The family of Robert McCartney reacted with fury yesterday after the Belfast pub where their brother was murdered by IRA members was renamed after Dubliners legend Ronnie Drew.

And last night, the son of the late singer Phelim Drew said he was concerned his pacifist father's name was being associated with a place where such a barbaric murder had taken place.

Magennis's Bar, a stone's throw from the republican Markets area, is now called Ronnie Drews, after the singer who died last August.

A large picture of Mr Drew has been etched on one window and another of the five-member group on another.

Robert McCartney's sister Paula said: "It is obvious what they are doing, they are trying to whitewash the past.

"But as far as Belfast is concerned, changing the name is not going to do anything -- the stigma has well and truly stuck." However, she said tourists should know they could be drinking next to a murderer.

Despite a lengthy trial, no-one has been brought to justice for the murder.

Ms McCartney added: "The bar didn't murder Robert, it was the people in it and the people need to change, not the name of the bar."

Phelim Drew said he and his sister Cliodhna were not consulted about the name change and he had already spoken to his solicitor. But he said he was not going to jump to any knee-jerk reaction.

"We would be obviously extremely sensitive to the feelings of the McCartney family and want them to know very clearly that we were not involved in the naming of the pub after our dad."

The bar has changed hands several times since Mr McCartney was murdered outside after a row with IRA members inside. The new owner was not available for comment yesterday.

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