Belfast Telegraph

Appeals for police action after shots fired over Seamus McLaughlin's coffin in Ardoyne

By David Whelan

Calls have been made for police to investigate after shots were fired over the coffin of a republican in north Belfast.

There was widespread anger on social media last night as pictures emerged of three masked gunmen performing a salute at the funeral of Seamus McLaughlin in Ardoyne.

It is believed that Mr McLaughlin was a member of Oglaigh na hEireann.

In an online tribute one blogger said: "He was forced by the British Government into one of the on-the-runs and into exile from his family and comrades by the hostile state of the British Government and he was waked in Butler Place in old Ardoyne.

"Seamus was a lifelong Ardoyne republican volunteer and committed republican who defended his district against British imperialism as well as going on the offensive in Britain." The photographs sparked a mixed reaction on Twitter, with many people calling for a police investigation.

One comment on Twitter said: "So people in Ardoyne find loyalist parades intimidating yet happy to stand with masked gunmen. Hypocrisy at its best. Silence from media & PSNI."

Another man said: "Thought we were on ceasefire, nothing to worry about, people are fooled if they believe different."

Another person commented that it was extremely worrying the incident occurred yards from a large police operation at the loyalist camp at Twaddell Avenue.

DUP MLA William Humphrey said that the show of strength was deplorable but not surprising.

"I have just returned from a church service where I spoke to one of the sergeants from Tennant Street.

"The police are denying that shots were fired, but even if they weren't, it's a deplorable sight from yesteryear and not a welcome one," he said.

"It's no surprise, coming from Ardoyne, following on from some of the other things we have seen coming out of the area."

Tension in north Belfast is high following a Parades Commission decision to restrict bands to playing a single drumbeat outside St Patrick's Church during the Tour of the North march next Friday.

The continuing loyalist protest camp and weekly marches in the area in protest at the decision to halt a July 12 parade last year have also added to strained relations in the area.

Police have had a permanent presence at Ardoyne since the protest started.

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