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Robert McCartney's sisters demand review of funding as community groups place 'Jock' Davison tribute in Irish News

By Suzanne Breen

Published 11/05/2015

Catherine and Paula McCartney
Catherine and Paula McCartney
The advert about Gerard Davison which caused them offence

The sisters of Robert McCartney have said the authorities must urgently review the funding of community groups that eulogised murdered IRA commander Jock Davison in a newspaper advertisement.

The McCartneys also denounced victims organisation Relatives for Justice for putting its name to the tribute.

"It is nauseating that a group which campaigns on behalf of those who have suffered in the conflict lauds a man who left dozens of people here bereaved and injured," Catherine McCartney said.

"Relatives for Justice should hang its head in shame."

In a full-page advertisement in Saturday's Irish News, 63 community groups in Belfast paid a glowing tribute to Davison and his work as a "community activist".

"The funding bodies must immediately reconsider giving public money to organisations which elevate a killer," Catherine added .

"I understand the republican movement paying tribute to Jock - he was a senior member - but it is utterly inappropriate that community groups, particularly those representing women and children, are honouring someone who brought death and destruction into the lives of women and children across this city.

"The question must be asked, do these groups represent communities or do they represent paramilitaries? Jock's IRA beret and gloves were placed on top of his coffin.

"That leaves no one in doubt as to what he was at the time of his death. Far from being expelled by the IRA, he clearly remained a central and active member. These groups are paying tribute to a leading paramilitary."

Davison, who was shot dead near his home in the Markets area of Belfast last week, was involved in numerous murders and 'punishment' attacks.

He was employed as a community worker with the Markets Development Association.

The McCartney sisters believe Davison gave the order to kill their brother Robert outside Magennis' bar 10 years ago, a charge which he denied.

Robert McCartney was beaten and stabbed to death in the frenzied attack. An eyewitness said the IRA commander drew a finger across his throat to indicate to his henchmen what he wanted done.

In the advertisement, Davison is described as "highly esteemed" and "a courageous community activist" who "managed to thrive in difficult circumstances" and held "those with power and responsibility to account".

It denounced attempts to "criminalise" him and claimed he was "respected and loved".

Among the signatories are the West Belfast Partnership Board, Feile an Phobail, Falls Community Council, Clonard Monastery Youth Centre, Cliftonville Community Regeneration Forum and the Lower Ormeau Residents' Action Group. Also joining in the tribute were Glen Community Parent Youth Group, Lenadoon Women's Group, Lorag Youth Project, the Market Women's Group, Ardmonagh Family and Community Group, Newhill Youth and Community Association, St Malachy's GAC and Whiterock Children's Centre.

Paula McCartney said she was "dismayed and disgusted" at the advertisement. "Words can't convey my feelings about this despicable ad. These so-called community groups haven't an ounce of integrity or humanity.

"To glorify a murderer is insensitive, not just to our family, but to all the families who were victims of Jock Davison.

"This is just one big slap in the face to us all. It is endorsing the murderer of our loved ones. Our family never received even a letter of sympathy from any one of these groups when Robert was murdered.

"No ad was placed in the Irish News paying tribute to him, and Robert was a totally innocent man who never harmed another human being in his life. These community groups are being unbelievably antagonistic to victims." Catherine said she believed that supporters of Davison would now try to paint a mural dedicated to him in the Markets area.

"Our family will vigorously oppose any such attempt," she added.

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