DUP's fury over 'paramilitary show of strength' at funeral of republican Tommy Crossan
Published 25/04/2014 | 11:05
The DUP has called on PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to investigate a paramilitary-style funeral which took place in broad daylight in west Belfast.
In scenes reminiscent of the darkest days of the Troubles, masked men flanked the coffin of murdered dissident republican Tommy Crossan (45) yesterday.
Female relatives were among those who carried the coffin which was draped in an Irish tricolour with a beret and gloves set on top.
The former Continuity IRA leader had fallen out with the terror group and had received a number of death threats. He was shot dead last Friday.
DUP MEP Diane Dodds said she has written to Mr Baggott asking him to ensure the police investigate why masked men were openly parading by the coffin.
"The image of masked men flanking a funeral cortege is deeply disturbing," she said.
"It is important for the police to state how many personnel they had present in the area for what was effectively a paramilitary show of strength.
"If there were no police on the ground then what other surveillance of the event have the police carried out and what actions will follow as a result?
"Those who took the life of this individual must be found and imprisoned, but it is also wrong to celebrate the life of a terrorist through such a show of strength."
Requiem Mass was held for Crossan at St John the Evangelist church on the Falls Road before burial at Milltown cemetery.
Around 100 mourners turned out for the funeral.
Crossan had been working at a family business in the Peter Pan complex on the lower Springfield Road at around 4.45pm last Friday when he was murdered.
PSNI Detective Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said Crossan had been shot a number of times at close range in his upper body as he sat in the office of the business of a family friend within the complex.
He confirmed that Crossan was known to police.
"But no matter what his lifestyle was, absolutely nothing justifies this barbaric action against him," Det Supt Roberts added.
A 26-year-old man arrested in west Belfast by police investigating the murder was later released without charge.
A red coloured BMW car, which was set on fire at nearby Beechmount Grove, was discovered after the fatal shooting and a link is being investigated.
Crossan, from west Belfast, leaves behind his wife Ann, six children and five grandchildren.
His family have not spoken publicly about the murder.
In a joint death notice, his children said their father was their hero.