Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Shatter slams RIRA funeral showing

Mourners attend the funeral of Real IRA member Alan Ryan at the Church of the Holy Trinity in cemetery in Balgriffen, north Dublin

The show of strength by the Real IRA (RIRA) at the funeral of terror boss Alan Ryan has been condemned as "reprehensible" by Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

A volley of shots were fired as the 32-year-old's remains left his family home in north Dublin on Saturday morning. His coffin was draped in the tricolour and escorted to church by hundreds of supporters and associates dressed in republican uniform, including a colour party with their faces covered.

Mr Shatter said some events surrounding the funeral were "reprehensible and absolutely unacceptable".

"Paramilitary trappings should not blind people to the fact that what is at issue is criminal terrorism carried on by people who, for their own reasons, want to drag the people of this island back to a dark past," he said. "In treating the will of the people, north and south, with contempt, they dishonour democracy.

"I recognise fully the immediate difficulties which face An Garda Siochana when people take advantage of a funeral to behave in this fashion. But the Garda Commissioner has assured me that they are pursuing rigorously any breaches of the law which took place.

"The gardai, together with their colleagues in the north, will continue to take every action open to them to deal with the activities of members of these groups, whether they are engaging in terrorism or organised crime."

Ryan was gunned down near his family home in the Grange Lodge estate in Clongriffin last Monday. A suspect in his 40s was arrested on Thursday and can be questioned for 72 hours.

There was a strong Garda presence around the Church of the Holy Trinity in Donaghmede as family and friends mourned the father-of-one. The atmosphere tensed at his burial in Balgriffin cemetery, with armed gardai and the riot squad on stand-by, but the service passed peacefully.

Sinn Fein councillor Micheal Mac Donncha said the murder was shocking but warned dissidents do not have the support of the local community. "As a public representative, I have to reflect the views of the local community, and it has to be said that there is great resentment at attempts to portray the so-called 'Real IRA' as being supported by this community," said Mr Mac Donncha.

"Wall slogans and black flags cannot hide the fact that this violent faction is rejected by the community in Donaghmede and that they represent no-one but themselves. Genuine Irish republicans throughout the country totally reject the activities of this group and other such factions who abuse the good name of Irish republicanism to further their own ends."