McCartneys touch down for US engagements

Friday 10 February 2006 19.25
McCartney family - In Washington for talks
McCartney family - In Washington for talks

The sisters and fiancée of murdered Belfastman Robert McCartney have arrived in the United States.

Speaking to reporters on their arrival in Baltimore, they said they believe that anyone who has a deep sense of justice sees their brother's murder for what it is. 

Catherine McCartney said they wanted people in America to know that the people in Northern Ireland were now dealing with criminal gangs who were using romanticism to kill people on the street and get away with it.

They said their determination is being driven by their love for their brother. They said their trip would be made worthwhile if they were to hear while in the US that an arrest had been made in Belfast in relation to his murder.

Mr McCartney’s sisters and fiancée said that during their time in the US they would be meeting President Bush’s Special Advisor on Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, and senators Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton.

They will also attend receptions at the Northern Ireland Bureau, the American Ireland Fund, and the Irish Embassy on St Patrick's Day.

The Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, will not be in attendance at the celebrations as he has not been asked to attend while Senator Kennedy has refused to meet him in protest at recent IRA activities. 

McGuinness criticises the PSNI

Sinn Féin's Chief Negotiator, Martin McGuinness, has accused the PSNI of 'dragging its heels' in its investigation into Mr McCartney’s murder.

Mr McGuinness said he believed the PSNI is now in a position to arrest and charge people in connection with the murder of the Belfast man and have not done so.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, he said he knew of two people who were in the bar on the night Mr McCartney was killed and who have yet to be contacted by the police investigating team.

He said he was considering making a formal complaint to the North's Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan.

In an earlier interview, Mr McGuinness urged the McCartney family to stay out of party politics, saying they could risk losing popular support for their campaign.

Robert McCartney was found lying unconscious in an alley after a row in a bar in Belfast on 30 January. He died in hospital the following day from stab wounds.