The Crime Lords; IRA Men Linked to McCartney Killing Who Walk the Streets of Belfast as 'Untouchables'

Daily Mail (London), March 10, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Crime Lords; IRA Men Linked to McCartney Killing Who Walk the Streets of Belfast as 'Untouchables'


Byline: GORDON RAYNER

THEIR ruthless control over organised crime in Belfast has earned senior IRA men the nickname 'the Rafia', a grimly appropriate amalgam of Republican Army and Mafia.

And by swaggering openly through the city's streets in recent weeks, those believed to be responsible for Robert McCartney's murder have lived up to the reputation of crime lords beyond the reach of the law.

Despite a campaign by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to persuade the world that he is doing everything to persuade those responsible to turn themselves in, the three men alleged to have been at the centre of Mr McCartney's murder have remained at large.

Gerard 'Jock' Davison, said to have ordered the killing following a brawl in a Belfast pub, Jim 'Dim' McCormack, reported to have administered the fatal knife blow, and Gerard Montgomery, alleged to have helped orchestrate the cleanup operation afterwards, have remained defiant despite widespread support among the nationalist community for the McCartney family's campaign for justice.

Davison, McCormack and Montgomery are among the Belfast IRA's most powerful and ruthless 'volunteers', still regarded by the communities they have lorded for so many years as untouchable.

JIM MCCORMACK, 36, lives in the Catholic Markets area of Belfast. He is a relatively recent addition to the IRA's ranks of 'volunteers' but rose swiftly to the position of Officer Commanding in the Markets area.

At school he had a reputation as a bully and as a teenager he was frequently in trouble for joyriding before graduating to theft and burglary, according to local sources.

In January 1984, whilst he was still a teenager, McCormack was questioned by police over an arson attack on a Belfast leisure centre which left six people dead, including three children. He was attracted to the power, money and violence which membership of a paramilitary organisation could bring, and he joined the IRA.

In July 1994 he and Montgomery were widely believed to have been part of an IRA hit squad which carried out the bloody revenge killings of two UFF terrorists.

GERARD DAVISON, 37, lives in Short Strand, a few hundred yards from the house where Mr McCartney lived with his fiancee Bridgeen. Although he is said to be one of those expelled from the IRA over the killing, Davison's supporters remain as loyal as ever.

He is frequently seen driving around Short Strand in an expensive four-wheel-drive car, and his comfortable home on Strand Street, where he lives with his wife and 18-year-old son, is guarded by burly young men wearing bomber jackets and baseball caps. …

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