The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Rally for Justice

Sean Smyth • March 2005

Despite it been a bitterly cold day over 300 hundred people from the Short Strand area assembled. There were leading members of SF, SDLP, WP and PIRA in the crowd out side the local shops on the Mountpottinger Road in a show of public support for the McCartney family whose brother Robert was viciously murdered 4 weeks earlier, the mood of the people was one of anger but with a determination that they wouldn't be going to accept anything less than what the family was calling for! JUSTICE…

The McCartney family had called for public support to highlight the fact that their brother's killers were hiding behind a wall of silence imposed on both the witnesses to the murder and the communities of the Short Strand and the Markets areas of Belfast using the name of Oglaigh na hEireann East Belfast Brigade to intimidate and threaten people from even speaking of the murder.

Shortly after 14.00 hours the 20 members of the McCartney family led by Robert's sisters walked the short distance from the family home carrying placards calling for justice for the slain brother to the shops on the Mountpottinger Road. As they arrived the people gathered to meet them lined both sides of the road and applauded as the family passed. With great dignity and their heads held high the family made their way through a throng of people. Each step they took was met with applause to encourage the family to a makeshift platform from which they addressed the crowd.

Firstly Paula introduced a niece of Roberts who spoke of the love she had for her dead uncle. Paula then took the stand and delivered a passionate plea for justice, calling on the republican movement to remember the suffering the Short Strand endured due to over 70 years of British misrule and the many local people who had lost their lives defending the district from both British and Loyalist death squads; and that by protecting her brother's killers the republican movement was desecrating the memory of every republican who had ever died for Ireland; that Robert's killers were unworthy of the name republicans and that if republicans didn't use every power available to them to rid East Belfast of these killers then they were sentencing the all the people of Ireland to a life of fear and terror and forever criminalizing the name of republicanism. Paula then introduced Derry
journalist and broadcaster and one of the founder members of the Civil Rights Movement Eamon McCann.

The Derry socialist spoke of his abhorrence to learn that the killers of Robert McCartney were in Derry to march in solidarity calling for justice with the family's of the 14 innocent Derry nationalist/republicans murdered 33 years earlier to the day by the British Paratroopers, and then to come back to Belfast and carry out such a hideous crime. He said that the killers of Robert McCartney were no better than the Para's of Derry. The crowd applauded in support. He asserted that in fact, they are worse, and if the republican movement did not stop the cover up of this killing they were acting like British state and the British army who to this day are still trying to cover up their dastardly deeds of January 30th 1972 in Derry. That the British officer in charge on Sunday 30th January 1972 was now the commander and chief of the British Army - was the Republican movement to treat the killers of Robert McCartney the same?

McCann then spoke of the long and sometimes painful road the families in Derry had to travel before they got their inquiry into the murder of their loved ones. He called on the republican movement not to make the McCartney family make the same hurtful journey for justice that the British had put the families in Derry through and that if they did then everything that the republican movement ever stood for would be gone and lost forever.

Paula then told the crowd the if Roberts killers were true Republicans then it was their patriotic duty to resign from the IRA and hand themselves in. And that if they didn't then the people must stand together as one and keep the pressure on them until they do the decent thing.

She then thanked the community for their ongoing support and prayed that no other family will ever have to go through what they are going through. As the meeting dispersed Mr McCartney's uncle confronted Alex Maskey. Gerard McKay said, "They butchered my nephew, butchered him, and all I'm asking you is hand the 12 over, you've handed three over, hand the other nine over."

Maskey said that it was not in his power to do that.





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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

7 March 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Butcher of Derry
Anthony McIntyre

Republican Anger at Criminals on Political Wing
Martin Mulholland, IRPWA

Brian Mór

The Rally for Justice
Sean Smyth

Green Leadership in North Call for a 'Big Conversation'
on a Unified Nationalist/Republican Strategy for the Endgame

John Barry, Green Party

Eoin McNamee's two Troubles novels
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Irish Christians and Africa
Dr John Coulter

4 March 2005

Honourary White Man
Marc Kerr

A Blanketman Still Fighting to be Heard
Anthony McIntyre

The Dam Has Burst
Mick Hall

The Peace Process Has Been Saved
David Adams

World's Largest Men's Room
Brian Mór

Green Beer and Bad Singing
Fred A Wilcox

Ireland's Neutrality is Not Threatened
Thomas Lefevre

Sentences of Death: Mary Gordon's Pearl
Seaghán Ó Murchú



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