Belfast Telegraph

Former IRA chief of staff Kevin McKenna dies

Kevin McKenna. Credit: Monaghan Sinn Fein Facebook page
Kevin McKenna. Credit: Monaghan Sinn Fein Facebook page

Former IRA chief of staff Kevin McKenna has passed away.

From Co Tyrone. McKenna rose through the ranks of the IRA and served as chief of staff from the mid 1980s until the mid 1990s.

It's believed that McKenna passed away at Cavan General Hospital on Tuesday. He was aged in his 70s.

He lived in Co Monaghan for many years and his funeral will take place in the area on Thursday.

A member of the IRA from the early 1960s McKenna held a number of leadership roles in the organisation prior to becoming chief of staff.

He was understood to be a rival of Martin McGuinness within the IRA.

Despite shunning media attention in recent years McKenna was understood to be a supporter of Sinn Fein and close to the party leadership.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew paid tribute to McKenna saying that he was a "man of courage".

“I knew Kevin really well and to me he was a man of courage, a man who played an active part in republican politics and showed great leadership for decades,” the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP told the Irish News.

“He has been a good friend and mentor and good to me and someone I would have looked up to and went to for advice and guidance.

“He was totally wedded to the peace process and trying to bring about Irish freedom and equality.”

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