21 December 2005

McCartney family in Blair meeting


Catherine and Paula McCartney met Tony Blair

The family of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney have met Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.

Two of his sisters were joined by Sinead Commander, whose husband Jeff was allegedly attacked because of his friendship with the McCartneys.

Mr McCartney, 33, was murdered in the street outside a bar in Belfast city centre in January.

Catherine and Paula McCartney requested the meeting with the prime minister as part of their campaign for justice.

Mr McCartney's family claim they have been intimidated by the IRA.

They and Mrs Commander met Mr Blair at 1700 GMT on Tuesday.

Catherine McCartney said they wanted to dispel a "misconception" that those involved in Mr McCartney's murder were "rogue elements" in republicanism.

She said it was the first time they had met Tony Blair on a formal basis and they wanted to update him on the investigation.

She added that the family felt that Sinn Fein was not doing all it could to help them.

In March, they had separate meetings with Senator Ted Kennedy and President George Bush, both of whom refused to meet Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at the time.

Two people have been charged in relation with Mr McCartney's murder and three people have been charged in relation to the alleged attack on Mr Commander.

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