Belfast Telegraph

Funeral held for IRA founder Billy McKee in Belfast

The funeral of Billy McKee, one of the founding members of the Provisional IRA, has taken place in Belfast.

Hundreds lined the streets of west Belfast as republicans from across Ireland descended on the city for the service at St Peter's Cathedral.

Draped in a flag Mr McKee's coffin was carried from the church in a gun carriage, with men wearing the military-style black berets associated with the IRA part of the procession.

The veteran republican who opposed the peace process died "unrepentant", mourners were told.

A eulogy was read at a memorial garden on the Falls Road, a short distance from the church.

A mourner said: "Billy remained steadfast to the end and had no regrets, despite all the hardship that he endured for his republicanism.

"For him it was not for a new Ireland or an agreed Ireland, it was for a 32-county independent republic that was declared at the front of the General Post Office in 1916."

The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peter's Cathedral on Saturday morning June 15, 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97.
The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peter's Cathedral on Saturday morning June 15, 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ‘Officer Commanding’ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leader’s funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ‘Officer Commanding’ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leader’s funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ‘Officer Commanding’ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leader’s funeral in west Belfast.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/06/2019 The for funeral of founding IRA member Billy McKee at St Peter's Cathedral in West Belfast on Saturday. The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years. When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC of the IRA's Belfast Brigade. Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ‘Officer Commanding’ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leader’s funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.
Press Eye - Billy Mc Kee Funeral - 15th June 2019 Photograph by Declan Roughan The funeral of veteran republican Billy McKee was held at St Peters Cathedral on Saturday morning 15th June 2019. Mr Mc Kee died on Tuesday aged 97. Mr McKee, from the lower Falls, helped establish the Provisional IRA in 1969 after the organisation split over differences in the direction. He went on to become its ÔOfficer CommandingÕ in Belfast and was a key leadership figure who sat on the 'army council' before being sidelined in the late 1970s. Republicans from across Ireland attended the former IRA leaderÕs funeral in west Belfast.

He was a former "Officer Commanding" of the IRA and involved with D Company of the organisation, the spokesman added.

Mr McKee was also a devout Catholic who went to Mass every day, and whose deafness meant his prayers were audible to other worshippers.

The address said: "We will remember you with pride.

Billy McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday
Billy McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday

"You were one in a million and a true republican to the end - unbowed, unbroken, and most of all - unrepentant."

Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97.

The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years.

When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC (Officer Commanding) of the IRA's Belfast Brigade.

He was involved in a gun battle at St Matthew's Church in the Short Strand during which two Protestants were killed alongside a Catholic civilian. Mr McKee was shot five times during the fighting but survived.

While imprisoned in Crumlin Road in the early 1970s, the veteran republican led a hunger strike in a bid to win political status for paramilitary prisoners.

Mr McKee was forced out of the IRA in 1977 and spent his remaining years as a fierce critic of Sinn Fein's move towards peace.

His bural took place at Milltown Cemetery.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph