Written answers

Thursday, 6 October 2005

Department of Foreign Affairs

Northern Ireland Issues

5:00 pm

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Question 24: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the recent pickets by IRA members of the home of one of the McCartney sisters in the Short Strand in Belfast; if he has met with the McCartney family to discuss these pickets, further attacks on the family and their friends, and the progress made in their campaign for justice for the murder of their brother; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26841/05]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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My Department continues to monitor closely all developments in relation to the McCartney case. I was shocked to hear the recent reports of continuing intimidation and attacks on members and supporters of the McCartney family. I would like to take this opportunity to repeat my condemnation of this type of intimidation, which is totally unacceptable.

Officials of my Department are in ongoing contact with members of the McCartney family, including in relation to the pickets the Deputy mentioned and we have followed up on matters they have raised with us in that regard. I understand that the PSNI is pursuing lines of inquiry in relation to the intimidation and I urge anyone who has information to share it with the police.

I should add that the Government's engagement with this issue goes beyond my own Department. The Taoiseach has met with the family on a number of occasions, most recently on 11 July last, and is very active in raising it with appropriate contacts. We discussed the case in our most recent meeting with the Sinn Féin leadership, and signalled that the Government still has real concerns about the situation on the ground, including the ongoing intimidation of the McCartney family, which must be brought to an end.

With regard to the progress in the murder investigation itself, as the Deputy is aware, two men have been charged in relation to the attacks on Mr. McCartney and Mr. Devine and are now on bail as the preparation of files continues by the PSNI. As the Deputy will also be aware, two further arrests were made on 4 October as part of the ongoing investigation. Naturally, our main concern at this stage is that justice will prevail and that all of those responsible for Mr. McCartney's murder, and the other related offences, will be brought to account for their actions in a court of law.

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