24 March 2005

BBC

McCartneys will not stand in poll


Witnesses to the killing have been reluctant to come forward

Relatives of murdered man Robert McCartney have decided not to stand in the local or general elections.

Mr McCartney, 33, was killed after a bar row in Belfast on 30 January. His family has blamed IRA members for his murder and intimidating witnesses.

His sister Paula said the family had decided that their energy would be best spent on the campaign for justice.

"If we went into the elections, our attention would be distracted by other issues," she said.

'Momentum'

"We want to concentrate solely on resolving the issue of Robert's murder.

"We still have the same momentum, not just as a family - I feel people are very interested in how this is resolved because they feel it affects their future as well."

Earlier this month, Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness cautioned the family against stepping over the party political line.

"To step over that line, which I think is a very important line, into the world of party politics, can do a huge disservice to their campaign," he said.

Last week, the family brought their campaign to Washington, meeting President Bush as well as a number of high-profile US politicians.

President Bush invited the McCartney family to the White House as part of a gesture to all those working towards peace in Northern Ireland.

Three men were expelled by the IRA after the killing, including the two main suspects in the case.

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