IRA statement 25th February
Following our investigation the IRA leadership, along with the leadership of the Belfast Command, initiated disciplinary proceedings through Court Martial. This was in accordance with IRA Standing Orders. These proceedings were directed only against IRA volunteers.
The outcome of the Courts Martial include the dismissal of three volunteers, two of whom were high ranking Volunteers.
One of these Volunteers had already gone to a solicitor immediately after the incident to make a statement of his actions on that night.
The other two were advised in the strongest terms possible to come forward and to take responsibility for their actions, as the McCartney family have asked.
In our statement of February 15th, we made it absolutely clear that no one should hinder or impede the McCartney family in their search for truth and justice and that anyone who could help them in that search should do so.
A dispute broke out between a senior republican and a group of people that included Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine.
After an initial heated verbal exchange between the senior republican and Robert McCartney. At that point another man and the senior republican were involved in a further heated exchange. Blows were exchanged and a major melee erupted in the bar.
Neither that man nor the senior republican had weapons of any description in their possession though both were struck with bottles thrown by others. Robert McCartney played no part in the melee.
Both Brendan Devine and the senior republican received serious stab wounds inside the bar.
A crowd spilled out onto the street. Verbal abuse and threats were being shouted by many of those present.
Some of those at the scene, including some republicans, tried to calm the situation.
The senior republican's wounds were tended by people at the scene and he was quickly taken to hospital.
In the meantime Brendan Devine, Robert McCartney and another man ended up in Market Street. It is the view of our investigation that these men were leaving the scene.
They were followed into Market Street where Robert McCartney and Brendan Devine were attacked and stabbed.
Both men were stabbed by the same man. Robert McCartney died a short time later in hospital.
No materials under the control of or belonging to the IRA were produced or used at any time during this savage attack.
A member of the bar staff was threatened by an individual who then took the CCTV tape away and destroyed it.
Those at the scene are responsible for the clean-up or destruction of evidence at the scene.
There should be no misunderstanding of our position in that regard. Any intimidation or threats in the name of the IRA or otherwise to any person who wishes to help the McCartney family will not be tolerated.
The internal disciplinary steps taken by the IRA are a matter for the IRA. They are not intended to be, nor should they be, seen as a substitute for the requests of the McCartney family.
IRA volunteers fully understand that they are bound by rules and regulations and a Code of Conduct. There will be no tolerance of anyone who steps outside of these rules, regulations or code. Anyone who brings the IRA into disrepute will be held accountable.