November 2, 2012

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Padraic Wilson, an official in the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, has been charged with Irish Republican Army membership in a case that highlights a pivotal unsolved murder, the 2005 stabbing of a Catholic civilian outside a Belfast pub.

The victim’s sisters complained the IRA covered up evidence and received White House backing, embarrassing Sinn Fein and spurring the major IRA faction, the Provisionals, to renounce violence and disarm that year.

But nobody has been convicted of killing Robert McCartney. His sisters, however, have told police that Padraic Wilson was one of two IRA officials who met them about the murder.

In Friday’s Belfast court appearance Wilson was charged with membership in an outlawed organization and organizing IRA meetings. His lawyers rejected the charge, and Sinn Fein demanded his immediate release.