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Fourth arrest over murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan

Published 18/08/2015

Kevin McGuigan was shot dead in a republican area of Belfast
Kevin McGuigan was shot dead in a republican area of Belfast

Detectives hunting the killers of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan have arrested a fourth man.

The 39-year-old suspect was detained in the Greater Belfast area and has been taken to the Police Service of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) serious crime suite for questioning.

Three other men aged 53, 44 and 41 remain in police custody.

Detective Chief Inspector John McVea said weapons recovered during searches in Greater Belfast had been sent for forensic examination.

Earlier hundreds of mourners packed into St Matthews Church close to the scene of last week's shooting in the republican Short Strand area of east Belfast for Mr McGuigan's funeral mass.

Father John Nevin, who led the service, said : "Violence does not solve problems. Violence, war and revenge does not solve problems but creates more. The circle goes on."

Mr McGuigan, a 53-year-old father of nine, was gunned down in a suspected feud between former IRA members.

He was hit a number of times at point-blank range in front of his wife Dolores outside their home in Comber Court last Wednesday.

Fr Nevin said during a visit to their home that the victim's family had questioned why he was killed.

"I have no answers for these tragedies that wreck families," the priest added.

The funeral of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan takes place at St Mathew's Church in east Belfast. Mr McGuigan, 53, was shot dead outside his home in Short Strand. Pic Pacemaker
The funeral of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan takes place at St Mathew's Church in east Belfast. Mr McGuigan, 53, was shot dead outside his home in Short Strand. Pic Pacemaker
Flowers left yesterday outside the east Belfast home of murder victim Kevin McGuigan who was shot dead last week
Family and friends follow the funeral of Kevin McGuigan to St Matthews Church. Pic Declan Roughan
Family and friends follow the funeral of Kevin McGuigan to St Matthews Church. Pic Declan Roughan
The funeral of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan, at St Mathew's Church in east Belfast. Mr McGuigan, 53, was shot dead outside his home in Short Strand. Pic Pacemaker
Family and friends follow the funeral of Kevin McGuigan to St Matthews Church. Pic Declan Roughan
Widow Dorlores at the funeral of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan, at St Mathew's Church in east Belfast. Mr McGuigan, 53, was shot dead outside his home in Short Strand. Pic Pacemaker

Among the mourners was Sinn Fein former lord mayor of Belfast Niall ODonnghaile, who is from the Short Strand district.

Ahead of the service, crowds gathered outside the family home sang, clapped and cheered as the coffin, draped in an Irish tricolour was carried out. Young GAA players formed a guard of honour as Mr McGuigan's remains were carried the short distance to the church.

Blue and white floral wreaths inside the hearse read "Big Kev", "Granda" and "Daddy".

Mr McGuigan was suspected by some in the republican movement of involvement in the murder of former IRA leader Gerard "Jock" Davison in the nearby Markets area of Belfast three months ago.

There has been widespread speculation his killing was a revenge attack by Mr Davison's one-time republican associates, which could have major implications for the Northern Ireland peace process.

Stormont's First Minister Peter Robinson has warned Sinn Fein it would face expulsion from the power-sharing Executive if the IRA was responsible.

Mr McGuigan's relatives have used social media to accuse the IRA.

However, Sinn Fein has rejected the suggestion of IRA involvement.

There was a significant security presence in east Belfast throughout the hour-long service with officers deployed in armoured Land Rovers in the Short Strand and adjacent loyalist Lower Newtownards Road. The PSNI helicopter also hovered overhead.

At one point loyalists attempted to heckle some mourners.

Fr Nevin told the congregation who had packed into the church that "hundreds" of sympathy cards had been sent to the McGuigan family.

"That says something about him, about his family," he said. "There is a lot of love, gratitude and appreciation for all the good that Kevin did in life.

"The mistakes that people make are highlighted in the media. The good that people do is often buried with their bones."

Afterwards Mr McGuigan's widow Dolores helped carry the coffin out of the church supported by a number of other female family members.

The cortege made its way back through the Short Strand, past the murder scene and on to City Cemetery in west Belfast for burial.

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