Belfast Telegraph

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey agrees to meet family of Robert McCartney

Deirdre Hargey (Niall Carson/PA)
Deirdre Hargey (Niall Carson/PA)
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has agreed to meet with the family of IRA murder victim Robert McCartney.

The move comes after Mr McCartney's family told the Belfast Telegraph they wanted to meet with the Sinn Fein politician as she was one of 70 people in the Magennis' bar in Belfast in 2005 when the father of two was stabbed to death outside the pub by IRA members.

Ms Hargey has always said she saw nothing of the fight in the premises that ultimately spilled outside into the street and ended in Mr McCartney's murder.

The BBC has reported Ms Hargey has now agreed to meet with Mr McCartney's family.

The Communities Minister has previously said she was never asked to make a statement to detectives.

Mr McCartney's sister Catherine told the Belfast Telegraph: "She shouldn't need to be asked. She should just automatically go herself. As a political representative, and especially now as Communities Minister, she should be bending over backwards to help victims' families.

Catherine McCartney

"We expect Sinn Fein to treat us the same way as they would treat victims killed by loyalists or the state.

"Robert was a member of Deirdre's local community who went for a drink in a bar and was murdered. We want to sit down with Deirdre and ask her what exactly she saw and didn't see that night in Magennis' - where she sat, if she saw Robert, if she saw Jock Davison."

Robert McCartney

Ms McCartney first asked for a meeting with Ms Hargey when the latter became Belfast Lord Mayor in 2018.

Ms Hargey has previously said she did everything possible to help the McCartney's secure justice, saying what happened to Mr McCartney was "wrong, it should not have happened."

Ms Hargey said she has fully complied with the police investigation. the PSNI had not asked to interview her but she would be willing to talk to detectives if requested.

Sinn Fein has been approached for comment.

Meanwhile, parents of IRA murder victim Paul Quinn also called on another Sinn Fein minister to withdraw his "disraceful slur" against their soon.

After the 2007 killing, Conor Murphy- now the finance minister- said he had spoken to the IRA and was satisfied it was not involved. He linked the killing to a feud among criminals.

Paul Quinn was beaten to death by a 12-strong IRA gang with iron bars and nail-studded cudgels in a border barn.

His mother Breege said: "I'm calling on Conor Murphy to withdraw his disgraceful slur against Paul. My son was not a criminal."

Both the McCartney and Quinn families asked the DUP to support their cause.

Sinn Fein has been approached for comment on this matter.

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