Belfast Telegraph

Video: Allister slams police after Belfast gunmen fire shots over coffin of IRA veteran Notarantonio

By Staff Reporter

Police are investigating after footage emerged of shots being fired over the coffin of veteran west Belfast republican Victor Notarantonio ahead of his funeral.

The former IRA man, who was questioned by the Garda about the murder of British agent Denis Donaldson, died at his home last week.

Hundreds of mourners attended Requiem Mass for Notarantonio at St Teresa's Church in the west of the city on Monday.

Notarantonio, who had been battling cancer, was buried in Blaris Cemetery in Lisburn.

On Sunday night mourners gathered outside his home where the coffin, draped with an Irish tricolour, was displayed.

At one stage two masked gunmen - dressed in jeans, trainers, and hooded tops - fired shots over the casket.

The display was followed by applause.

Chief Inspector Norman Haslett said: "Police are aware of footage showing shots apparently being fired by masked men in west Belfast in recent days. An investigation is under way."

As the head of a huge Irish-Italian family, Victor Notarantonio was well-known locally.

His father Francisco was murdered by loyalist terrorists in 1987.

The fingerprints of Victor were found in the remote cottage in Glenties where Donaldson was shot dead in 2006. The 67-year-old ex-Provo told detectives that he had visited Donaldson four weeks before the killing to discuss a family matter.

He denied any involvement in the murder, which was claimed by the Real IRA, and he was released without charge.

The Belfast Telegraph also revealed that in the late 1970s Notarantonio kneecapped Gerry Adams' paedophile brother Liam. The shooting was an authorised IRA punishment attack, but was unrelated to the child sex abuse charges of which Adams was later convicted.

The Notarantonios were associated with the mainstream republican movement for decades. Gerry Adams and Victor Notarantonio had grown up side-by-side in Ballymurphy.

The Adams' lived in Divismore Park, while the Notarantonios were two streets away in Whitecliff Parade. The Sinn Fein president was just 13 months older than Victor Notarantonio.

TUV leader Jim Allister said: "Far from the IRA going away, we have shots fired over a coffin in a street in Belfast.

"Where did the weapons and ammunition come from? Many will share my belief that this is yet more evidence of the sham of decommissioning.

"Following hard on the heels of the shooting of a police officer, this is yet further proof of the militancy of republicans at this time.

"There are serious questions for the police here. Were no officers in the area at the time?

"If not, why not? It would seem to me that they should have anticipated that something of this nature could take place following Notarantonio's death."

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