Belfast Telegraph

McCartney sisters say case closed:' Jock Davison entered our lives uninvited and took Robert's life'

Robert McCartney's siblings condemn Jock Davison's killing but are sickened by tributes

Robert McCartney’s sisters Catherine (left) and Paula were interviewed by our reporter yesterday
Robert McCartney’s sisters Catherine (left) and Paula were interviewed by our reporter yesterday
Robert McCartney with his son Coneald, was stabbed to death in a Belfast city centre bar in 2005
Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison was gunned down in the Markets
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The sisters of Robert McCartney have said their campaign for justice has now ended after the murder of Gerard 'Jock' Davison, whom they believe gave the order to kill their brother.

"We wanted Jock to face justice in a courtroom, not down the barrel of a gun," said Catherine McCartney.

"But the type of justice we hoped for has eluded us. We will never see Jock standing in the dock now.

"Our campaign for Robert is effectively over because Jock's death means he can never be held accountable for what he did that night."

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, the McCartney sisters condemned Davison's murder.

The former IRA commander was shot dead on Tuesday morning near his home in the Markets area of Belfast.

Catherine said: "Murder is wrong and can never be justified. As a family, we condemn Jock's murder. But we are sickened that politicians are pretending that he was a saint.

"This man brought death and destruction into our family and into many families across Belfast. It is nauseating that politicians from a range of parties are trying to whitewash his murderous past."

Another sister, Paula McCartney, said: "We have no sympathy for Jock Davison but we do have sympathy for his family. They are now grieving just like we grieved 10 years ago. They now know the pain of losing a loved one."

Robert McCartney, a 33-year-old father-of-two from the Short Strand, was stabbed to death by IRA members outside Magennis's bar in Belfast in January 2005.

His five sisters stepped forward to challenge the Provisionals and the code of omerta which ruled in working-class nationalist areas.

Their impassioned campaign for justice took them across the world, including Strasbourg and Washington where they met President Bush.

The McCartneys have always insisted that Jock Davison gave the order for their brother's murder - a claim he denied.

They say that after the fight broke out in the bar, Davison drew a finger across his throat to indicate to his henchmen what he wanted done to Robert and his friend, Brendan Devine.

Both men were followed into Market Street where they were beaten, kicked, stabbed and left to die. Devine survived but McCartney died in hospital nine hours later.

Catherine said: "Jock Davison didn't wield the knife that killed my brother but we hold him more responsible than the Provo who frenetically stabbed Robert.

"Jock Davison chose to let the mad dog off the leash."

Paula said: "Had Jock Davison not been in Magennis's bar that night, Robert would be alive today.

"The fight in the bar would still have happened but that is all it would have been, a fight.

"At worst, Robert would have been left with bruises and a bloody nose. There would not have been a dead body. It was Jock Davison who chose to turn it into something far more deadly that night.

"As a family we are still living with the repercussions of Jock's actions. We can't even visit Robert's grave. I went a few times but found no comfort there - it was too traumatic."

The McCartney sisters said they were incensed at politicians paying tribute to Davison as a respected and valued community worker.

Catherine said: "Jock is obviously a loss to his family but he is not a loss to the community.

"Jock Davison wasn't a positive person in the community. His legacy to the community is one of death and mutilation. He was involved in numerous murders and punishment beatings.

"There are dozens of families who lost loved ones because of him or who had loved ones beaten to a pulp in alleyways in the dark of night.

"This is a so-called community worker who put people in early graves. Yet nobody is mentioning his victims.

"Had this been Mark Haddock, politicians wouldn't be getting away with spouting this rubbish. I view Jock Davison no differently to Mark Haddock. To whitewash this man's legacy is an insult to his victims. How dare they."

Haddock is a notorious former loyalist terrorist and police informer who was jailed for 12 years last June in London for a knife attack on friend and fellow informer Terry Fairfield. The former Mount Vernon UVF leader has been linked to 21 murders but never convicted of any.

The McCartneys said they were particularly disgusted at Alliance's South Belfast Westminster candidate, Paula Bradhsaw, who expressed "extra sadness" at Davison's murder, stating: "I knew Gerard through the community sector and of his hard work for the Markets community."

Catherine said: "Is that all it takes to wipe out somebody's murderous past, for a politician to cut a yellow ribbon with them at a community event?

"Paula Bradshaw's crass comment illustrates how badly victims are treated in Northern Ireland.

"Politicians bemoaning the loss of Jock Davison is highly offensive to bereaved families sitting at home with empty chairs because of him." The McCartneys also lambasted the police for their comments about Davison.

Detective chief inspector Justyn Galloway said that although Davison, like many people in Northern Ireland, had a past "that is in the past".

Catherine said: "I am appalled at Justyn Galloway's statement. It contradicts everything the PSNI has told us. The police never informed us that Robert's murder investigation was over.

"The police had evidence against Jock Davison. For us, he remained a central suspect in a murder investigation. By these comments it feels like the police had already relegated Robert to the dustbin of history.

"But maybe if a murderer puts on a community worker hat, sits down and has tea and buns with the police, the slate is wiped clean."

In 2008, three men went on trial in connection with Robert's death. Terry Davison, Jock's uncle, was charged with murder; Jim McCormick and Joe Fitzpatrick with causing an affray. All three were found not guilty.

The McCartneys alleged that the police never had any interest in bringing Robert's killers to justice and the prosecution was "just window-dressing".

Catherine said: "Jock was the person we most wanted in the dock because the murder was carried out at his behest.

"But we felt the police were never interested in seriously going after him.

"We felt he was protected. We repeatedly asked detectives if he was an informer. We were just told the issue of informers was irrelevant to the investigation."

The sisters believe that Davison's senior rank in the IRA meant that the organisation initiated a cover-up after Robert's murder, destroying vital evidence.

"Had it been just run-of-the-mill Provos involved, our family would have had a far greater chance of achieving justice," Catherine said.

"But Jock's senior position in the movement meant they were never going to just spit him out."

While Davison was publicly expelled by the IRA for events in Magennis's bar, Catherine said the presence of senior republicans on the ground after his shooting on Tuesday, and the warm tributes paid to him, showed that he remained intricately involved with the organisation.

She said: "Jock Davison entered our lives uninvited 10 years ago. He took away Robert's precious life.

"Had Jock been held accountable by the state for his many murderous actions, justice would never have been meted out to him on the streets.

"I see his murder as an unfortunate, awful result of what happens when the system fails victims.

"You can't leave people without justice."

Paula added: "Had the police acted on evidence, Jock Davison would now be doing time in Maghaberry jail.

"By not upholding the rule of law, the authorities have paved the way for mafia law on the streets."

Read more:

McCartney family's quest for justice will never be fulfilled 

Sisters and fiancée travelled world in search for justice 

Man (27) is held by police over the slaying of former IRA boss Davison 

Gerard 'Jock' Davison: Well regarded in republicanism... but someone wanted him dead 

Gerard 'Jock' Davison murder: Politicians voice their horror at shooting 

Gerard 'Jock' Davison murder: Residents' shock as gunfire returns to Belfast's streets  

Gerard 'Jock' Davison murder: Police plea with residents to engage with detectives 

Gerard 'Jock' Davison: Stuck in the shadow of the Robert McCartney killing, but never far from senior republicans 

Markets murder: Former IRA chief gunned down as a child cried out 'daddy, daddy' 

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