McGuigan Killing: Catherine McCartney Speaks Truth……

Ed Moloney with more commentary on the murder of Kevin McGuigan in the Short Strand last week. Ed Moloney blogs @ The Broken Elbow.

The PSNI’s warning to the media that it would be “reckless and dangerous” to speculate about IRA involvement in the killing last week of Kevin McGuigan, shot dead outside his Short Strand home, has brought to the surface long simmering concerns about partial policing and prosecution decisions in the peace process dispensation that now reigns in Northern Ireland.

The impression that legal authorities are putting the survival of the peace process before justice – primarily in decisions or attitudes designed to protect Sinn Fein and its allies over issues as diverse as sexual abuse and historical cases – surfaced late this week with a call from the sister of an IRA victim to replace the PSNI as lead investigator of the McGuigan murder.

Catherine McCartney, whose brother Robert was stabbed to death by IRA members in 2005, allegedly under the control of Jock Davison whose own killer was claimed to be Kevin McGuigan, said basically that the PSNI was not a fit force to probe the incident because it put the political process ahead of objective investigation.

The warning to the media that it would be “reckless and dangerous” to link the killing to the IRA was echoed by calls on the media from Sinn Fein not to be “unhelpful” by suggesting IRA responsibility.

Stripped of ambiguity, these PSNI & SF statements can be translated thus: “Don’t blame the IRA because the more you do, even if it’s true, the harder it will be for us to ignore their part and the more likely it is that this will cause problems for the power sharing government at Stormont”. Or put another way: “…..let’s pretend it didn’t happen and move on.”

A piece by Henry McDonald in today’s Guardian captures Catherine McCartney’s anger and frustration well. (p.s.: still no update worth the name in Ireland’s newspaper of record):

Call for IRA gunman Kevin McGuigan’s murder inquiry to be taken off PSNI
Catherine McCartney, centre, with her sister Paula McCartney in 2005, said: ‘I’m in no doubt politics influences police investigation strategies’ Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Henry McDonald

Friday 14 August 2015

One of Northern Ireland’s most outspoken campaigners for paramilitary victims has called for the inquiry into the murder of IRA assassin Kevin McGuigan to be taken off the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and given to an external police force.

Catherine McCartney – whose brother Robert was murdered by IRA members in Belfast city centre a decade ago – has accused the PSNI of being more concerned about protecting the political process at Stormont than solving paramilitary murders.

McGuigan, a former neighbour of the McCartney family, was shot dead outside his home in the Catholic Short Strand district of east Belfast on Wednesday night. The former IRA gunman feared for his life because fellow republicans accused him of assassinating the ex-Belfast IRA leader Gerard “Jock” Davison in the nearby Market area in May.

A 39-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man were arrested in east Belfast on Thursday in connection with the killing and are being questioned by police.

They were detained a short distance from where McGuigan was gunned down in front of his wife at their home in Comber Court.

Criticising the PSNI for failing to state which, if any, organisation the McGuigan suspects belonged to, Catherine McCartney said only an external police force could properly investigate such murders.

She said on Friday:

In my view the police record on these types of murders is abysmal. Public confidence is nil and people don’t feel protected from paramilitaries. I’m in no doubt politics influences police investigation strategies. I certainly believe we don’t have an independent police force and that’s a huge problem.

The McGuigan killing has further destabilised the already fragile power-sharing executive at Stormont. Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson, warned on Thursday that Sinn Fein could be expelled from the power-sharing coalition if IRA involvement in the murder was proven. Sinn Féin’s former Lord Mayor of Belfast Alex Maskey vehemently denied any IRA connection to the killing.

McGuigan’s 75-year-old mother said she would pray for her son’s killers and that they would have to live with what they had done. Margaret McGuigan said:

He was a loving son, father and brother. He never got into trouble or a row. He never started a row in his life. He was a great son. He would do anything for anybody, neighbours and all.

Republicans in Belfast have repeatedly blamed McGuigan for murdering Gerard Davison in May; McGuigan consistently denied he had anything to do with it.

Davison was shot dead in Welsh Street as he was walking to work at a local community group. He is believed to have been personally responsible for or ordering the deaths of up to 15 men from the early 1990s onwards, many of whom were accused of drug dealing within nationalist areas of Northern Ireland.

He was also accused of giving the order to attack Robert McCartney, a forklift truck driver who was murdered outside a Belfast bar in 2005.

The McCartney family have alleged that the PSNI investigation into his murder was hampered due to the protection of informers inside the Belfast IRA and political considerations.

Catherine McCartney and her sisters launched a global campaign to try and bring their brother’s killers to justice. They were invited by George W Bush to the White House and also met the late Ted Kennedy, who lent his support to their campaign. A decade on, no one has been convicted of their brother’s killing.


  1. I am willing to predict this will be one of the biggest scandals to ever rock SF. Its obvious the psni is trying to protect them. Whenever 'dissidents' carry out an attack the psni waste no time in publicly stating who they believe was behind it.

  2. I bought the Sunday Times yesterday fully expecting a two page spread about the Provos being involved and the peace process being in crisis. Not a word about it. Radio Ulster's Talkback today? Another full hour about bonfires and burning flags.

  3. The media are protecting the provos,Cue Bono. This killing has the means to decimate Sinn Fein support and greatly increase support for anti gfa republicans. Not something the media or their masters want.

  4. There's a lot been said about these events.
    And most people seem concerned about the Peace Process angle.
    Fact is too many people have been sucked into it to turn back now.
    I don't believe that the PIRA are there any event.
    Throughout history the IRA is either "at War" or disbanded altogether.
    There is no half way house..Primarly due to the fact that the IRA doesn't do ceasefires well.
    Their discipline cracks...ergo why would anybody keep them around for?
    They'd be a liability.
    Secondly with the Taliban talks in Afghansty and FARC in Colombia. in an effort to fudge those conflicts.
    BOTH of great interest to the USA There is no mileage in rocking the boat.
    USA needs a roadmap.
    The GFA is that.
    Furthermore I believe the Brits will do nothing based on the USA need for a "successsful" example to put in front of FARC and the Tallaght-band.
    It's my theory that the USA wants the Paddies and the Limeys to be "friends"
    The Brits for their part; need to be "friends" with the Free State because the Hispanic demographics are RISING in the USA.
    They are shit scared of this in Whitehall. The number of WASPS is shrinking.
    So The Brits "hug a Paddy" and leave Sinn Fein in Stormont to throw the Irish Americans a bone.Hopefully getting them onside for the "special relationship" that the Brits kid themselves about.
    A history lesson of Joseph Kennedy and 1940 should focus their minds.
    If the shit does hit the fan and SF are booted out of the assembly.
    Then The Brits will be forced to go Joint Authority. Over the heads of the DUP
    And deal with Dublin.
    The SF mandate cannot be ignored and see above for the Brits "hug a Paddy" requirments. Joint authority would suit.
    Dare say the DUP might even know this.So no incentive for them to push the boat out.
    So, whatever you say..Say nothing.