The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Greet the Lion to Kill the Cat

Àine Fox • March 2005

Like a large population of the region I was disgusted by the brutal attack on Robert McCartney and his friend Brendan Devine outside Magennis' Bar in Belfast city centre on 30th January. As the sordid details of this tragic event unfolded before our eyes on the streets of the Short Strand area of Belfast and in the local and national press it became harder to stomach. Did members of the Provisional IRA viciously murder Mr McCartney in cold blood and leave both men they attacked to bleed to death in the street? To subsequently cover up the crime including intimidating witnesses not to go forward to the authorities?

Having been born and raised within West Belfast I was not shocked by the allegation that was initially put forth by the sisters of the dead man. I am aware of how in the past and present the Republican Movement have engaged in street justice as a tool to enable their control of our areas. This can be firmly illustrated by the numerous punishment beatings and killings carried out by the PIRA and its close associates over the last several decades in Belfast and beyond.

In the Republican historical context this "justice" has been explained away as community policing. Sinn Fein and its allies highlighting the ineffectiveness of the RUC to police nationalist areas meant gaining some grass roots support for their structures of control. The familiar line that I recall in the late eighties and early nineties was" Step out of line and you have to present yourself at Connolly House".

Taking into account the acknowledged unacceptability of the RUC within our communities, their collusion with numerous loyalist death squads and their actions as a tool for British state control of nationalist communities since its birth I agree that the RUC could never effectively 'police'. (I don't feel that its new face the PSNI is currently much different) Therefore I do not agree with but understand the sentiment that may arise when encouraging people to deal directly with the security forces.

So what transpires when it is these so called "protectors" of our communities that savagely attack, beat, kick, stab one man to death and one to near death? What made the actions of those murderers any better than those of the Shankill butchers who killed and maimed in a similar way. Were they fuelled by sectarian hatred and centuries of conflict? Where they out for revenge for the murder of someone they loved? Or where they merely thugs who believed they where 'untouchables', just as Al Capone did before Elliot Ness took him down.

The McCartney Family may well be the PIRA's Elliot Ness. They have conviction and belief that I would like to think given the same set of circumstances I would hold.

Not afraid to stand up for themselves and the memory of their murdered brother, partner, father, son, nephew, cousin. They are taking on a face that the British state in its entirety could not defeat.

They used their voices well in highlighting the unacceptable event that caused the death of Robert. They strongly demanded answers from the men in suits who claim to represent the murderers. After the usual denial and accusations of demonisation, no party line was going to save them face in this situation. The subsequent expulsion of both PIRA members and Sinn Fein representatives weeks after the murder did not satisfy anyone who had been fighting for justice. The offer to shoot the men responsible and reenact some of that 'street justice' was declined by the family who want to see the people responsible stand in a court and be charged with murder. That is of course an acceptable demand for a grieving family to make.

It is here however that my understanding with the grieving family ends. The death of Robert McCartney has evolved into a media circus. Members of every political grouping both nationalist and unionist, locally and internationally, and numerous other people are giving us their " two cents worth". Individuals such as Ian Paisley and his 'mini me' who would have shed no tears for Robert had he been murdered by loyalists or factions of the British State.

HOWEVER my main contention was the family's meeting with the President of the USA, Mr George " War criminal" Bush. Bush has never shown any regard or interest in Irish politics (With the exception of using Shannon Airport as a temporary US Airbase). The two times he was on the island of Ireland thousands protested against his presence as he used the space provided for a war summit.

This is a man responsible for the current "War on Terror", A war that has seen the destruction of two countries and the subsequent illegal occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq. With hundreds of thousands of body bags to count for the millions he and his cohorts are making in profit. How can this brutal cold blooded man who uses his own private army to carry out his pursuit of power and fanatical ideas, be any better than one who kills with his own hands.

George Bush has more blood on his hands than the PIRA has in its whole existence. George Bush has more blood on his hands than the murderers of Robert McCartney ever will.

I cannot see how this meeting contributes to the family's thirst for justice. I see only how it enables the circus to continue. Further isolating Sinn Fein (which for the record I don't mind) on a global basis and aiding the British State to do what the have wanted for centuries, force Irish resistance to British control into irrelevancy.

Maybe I have no right to confront this grieving family with anything as they have suffered enough.

BUT I would plead to the family of Robert McCartney to remember every one of those poor innocent men, women and children wiped out in Afghanistan and Iraq and also the nations that the USA funds the continued oppression of.

Will the McCartney family be asking Mr. Bush about justice for the countless thousands of dead?

Will the McCartney family demand that Mr Bush explains funding Israel's war machine to the tune of billions each year?

Does the orphan child on the streets of Iraq have anyone to cry to, or the mother clutching her dead child, who will listen to their cry for justice?

Do the children being shot on their way to school in Palestine have anyone to fight for their case for justice?

Or are these lives and cries for justice of the thousands dead and oppressed and their families not as important as that of Robert McCartney and his family?











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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

28 March 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Writing's Off the Wall!
Catherine McGlinchey

Ireland: Republican Movement faces disintegration
Paul Mallon

The IRA is Morphing into the 'Rafia'
Anthony McIntyre

Truth and Justice!
Sheila Holden

Greet the Lion to Kill the Cat
Àine Fox

Concerned Republican
N. Corey

Six Against the Rock
Anthony McIntyre

Our Patriot Dead Are Turning in their Graves
Margaret Quinn

Easter Oration 2005
32 CSM

Easter Statement from the Leadership of the Republican Movement 2005

RSF Vice President Calls On Provisionals To Disband
Des Dalton, RSF

Easter Statement from the Leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement
Andy Gallagher, IRSP

Easter Statement from the Irish National Liberation Army Prisoners of War

Caribbean Sinn Fein Easter Message
Jimmy Sands

22 March 2005

A Must Read
Mick Hall

Green Paper on Irish Unity
32 CSM Press Release

The Advisocrats
Anthony McIntyre

Fig Leaf
Dr John Coulter

Democractic Killers
Fred A Wilcox

Eamon McCann

No Dodging the Moral Dilemma
David Adams

After St Patrick's Day, Where Goes the Peace Process?
Fr. Sean Mc Manus. INC

The Left Way Could be the Right Way for Sinn Fein
Eamon McCann

Robert McCartney
Carol Mallon

Don't Lose Perspective
Richard Wallace

Anthony McIntyre

Is Spring Banging at the Doors of the Arab World?
Michael Youlton

The Letters page has been updated.



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