Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

We will unmask dissidents at Tony Catney funeral, warn police

A paramilitary guard during the funeral of veteran IRA volunteer Tony Catney in west Belfast on Wednesday

Police are reviewing footage gathered after eight masked men openly walked the streets of Belfast yesterday during a funeral with paramilitary trappings.

Eight masked men in military garb accompanied the coffin of convicted IRA murderer Tony TC Catney in west Belfast.

A number of prominent dissident republicans accompanied the coffin, including Brian Shivers, Breandan McConnaith and Ivor Bell.

It has also been reported that armed and masked dissident terrorists fired a volley of shots in memory of Catney in Belfast on Tuesday night.

A PSNI spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph they carried out a "low key policing operation" during the funeral and are currently reviewing the footage.

Even though the eight men were masked, police have on two previous occasions been able to secure a conviction after identifying masked culprits using cutting-edge technology.

Catney's funeral took place in the Suffolk area on Wednesday morning before making its way to Milltown Cemetery where Catney was buried in the republican plot.

North Belfast MLA Nelson McCausland called on police to investigate.

The DUP man also slammed comments by a priest at the funeral about how Catney "fought for justice for everyone".

"For a priest to make such comments is quite disgraceful," he said.

"By Tony Catney's actions in the past and his words in more recent times, he showed absolutely no regard for human rights or basic human decency," he said.

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey also condemned the paramilitary style funeral and questioned the PSNI over its apparent lack of action.

In the response seen by the Belfast Telegraph, a senior officer told Mr Hussey that they had between 35 and 45 officers deployed in relation to the funeral at various stages throughout the day.

Mr Hussey was assured that evidence had been gathered and footage will now be reviewed.

A PSNI spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: "All available footage will be examined and where any criminal offences are detected, these will be pursued by police."

Background

Wearing a mask does not prevent police identifying an offender. Two men have been successfully convicted after the PSNI used cutting-edge technology to identify them. In May 2013, Londonderry man Patrick John McDaid (43) was found to have managed a meeting in support of the IRA. Tiernan Porter (21) was jailed last year for a paramilitary-style shooting in west Belfast.

High-tech method of identifying terrorism suspects 

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