‘We are not afraid’

Northern Ireland: How the McCartney sisters took on the IRA.

With their campaign for justice for their murdered brother, the McCartney sisters have provoked a deep crisis in Irish republicanism. As they prepare to take their story to the White House, Angelique Chrisafis talks to the Belfast family who are forcing the IRA to change its ways.

The five McCartney sisters take their campaign for justice over their brother’s death to anyone who will listen. Raised in the Short Strand, a tiny Catholic enclave in east Belfast – a republican heartland where tribal loyalty and the old rubric of “whatever you say, say nothing” holds – they are finally squaring up to their one-time “protectors”, demanding answers. Killing Catholics is not what the IRA is supposed to do; killing a totally innocent one and then covering up the murder is beyond the pale.