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Funeral of top IRA man Bobby Storey to be held next week

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Lung transplant: Bobby Storey

Lung transplant: Bobby Storey

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Lung transplant: Bobby Storey

The funeral of senior IRA figure Bobby Storey is to take place in Belfast on Tuesday.

Mr Storey (64), from west Belfast, died in England on Sunday following an unsuccessful lung transplant. His funeral is delayed as the family wait for his body to be returned home.

Mr Storey's remains will leave his home in Owenvarragh Park at 10.30am for 11am Mass at St Agnes' Church on the Andersonstown Road and afterwards to Milltown Cemetery, where his friend and former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will give an oration. Thousands of mourners are expected to attend and senior republicans have been urged to ensure social distancing measures are respected.

Mr Storey's remains will arrive at his family home at 6pm tonight, and his wake will be open to the public from 10am to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday. The IRA's former director of intelligence, Mr Storey was popular within the Provisional movement. He was reputed to have planned the 1983 escape of 38 prisoners from the Maze, the 2002 Castlereagh RUC base break-in, and the 2004 Northern Bank robbery. He was also a key figure during the peace process and had been Sinn Fein's chairman north of the border.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald called him a "very deeply committed Irish republican".

This week DUP Policing Board member Mervyn Storey called on republican leaders to make sure social distancing was in place at the funeral. He added: "We also have to remember that, whatever your view on the individual involved, this is still a grieving family and we want to see policing of the crowds as proportionate and appropriate."

It is understood that Sinn Fein Policing Board member Gerry Kelly has met with the PSNI to discuss arrangements.

Belfast Telegraph