Former IRA leader remanded


A FORMER IRA leader in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland was remanded in custody yesterday on charges linked to a police investigation into a murder outside a Belfast bar.

Padraic Wilson was accused of IRA membership and addressing a meeting encouraging support for the organisation. A detective told Belfast Magistrates’ Court that Wilson (53) took part in a meeting with the sisters of Robert McCartney (33), who was stabbed to death outside the pub in 2005.

The court was told police were not connecting him to the murder.

Wilson was the leader of IRA prisoners in the Maze in the late 1990s.

He was remanded in custody after police expressed fears the political manager would intimidate witnesses, a claim denied by his lawyer Peter Madden.

A detective told the court six witness statements had been received from Mr McCartney’s sisters and former partner accusing him of involvement in an IRA internal investigation following the murder of Mr McCartney.

Mr Madden said his client denied admitting he was in the IRA and said it was his word against the McCartneys’.

Senior Sinn Féin figures and Northern Ireland Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Sue Ramsey were in court for the hearing.

Magistrate Fiona Bagnall remanded him in custody until November 30th.

No one has been found guilty of Mr McCartney’s killing.