Belfast Telegraph

Fifteen men arrested at funeral of murdered dissident republican Michael Barr in Strabane

PSNI: 'What we saw on the streets of Strabane was to all intents and purposes a paramilitary style display'

By Claire Williamson and Donna Deeney

Fifteen men have been arrested at the funeral of a senior dissident republican who was shot dead in Dublin.

Michael Barr (34) from Strabane was shot at the Sunset House pub where he worked on April 25.

Immediately there was speculation that the shooting was the latest in a bloody feud involving associates of the Kinahan and Hitch families.

The two sides have been embroiled in a bitter row which has claimed the lives of several people in the gangland gun murders since late last year.

He died at the scene after he was shot at least three times, including one to the head.

The funeral cortege was flanked by dozens in paramilitary uniform with berets and sunglasses as it made its way to the mass which was held at St Mary's Church, Melmount in Strabane.

None of those taking part had their faces covered.

The men were arrested away from the funeral following the service and they have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

The PSNI said the fourteen men were arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Speaking at press conference Superintendent Mark McEwan, District Commander said: "We have had some public commentary that the deceased was allegedly a member of the violent dissident republican grouping known as the New IRA and that the funeral would take place in line with that.

"What we saw on the streets of Strabane was to all intents and purposes a paramilitary style display and as a result of that the policing operation we have arrested 15 men in connection with suspected terrorist related offensives.

"Every police operation has to be developed and policed in the context of the wider community impact.

"Where we suspect a criminal offence has taken place we will move to act, the public would expect us to act.

"The scenes we have seen are not unique but the public do expect us to act.

"Sometimes it is more appropriate that we take an evidence gathering approach and seek to follow that up with arrests and potential prosecutions at  a later date but the situation that presented itself this morning, it was appropriate, necessary and proportionate that we would take those steps so subsequently 15 men were arrested."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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