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Hundreds line streets as veteran republican’s remains return home

Bobby Storey, 64, died in England on Sunday following unsuccessful medical treatment.

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Senior republican Bobby Storey’s remains have arrived at his west Belfast home (Liam McBurney/PA).

Senior republican Bobby Storey’s remains have arrived at his west Belfast home (Liam McBurney/PA).

Senior republican Bobby Storey’s remains have arrived at his west Belfast home (Liam McBurney/PA).

Hundreds have lined the streets as the remains of senior republican and former leading IRA figure Bobby Storey arrived at his home in West Belfast.

He was a highly influential presence within his community throughout the Troubles and subsequent peace process.

A guard of honour was formed near his Andersonstown home on Friday evening.

Former Sinn Fein president and close friend Gerry Adams was among those present.

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Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (Liam McBurney/PA)

Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (Liam McBurney/PA)

Stormont Assembly member Martina Anderson and North Belfast MP John Finucane also attended.

The remains were removed from the hearse in silence and taken to his home.

The former Sinn Fein chairman north of the border was 64 and had been unwell for a period of time.

He died in England on Sunday following an unsuccessful lung transplant.

His funeral will be held in Belfast on Tuesday.

Mr Storey spent more than 20 years in prison during the conflict.

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Crowds line the Andersontown Road in west Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Crowds line the Andersontown Road in west Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Crowds line the Andersontown Road in west Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

He was sentenced to 18 years for possession of a rifle in 1981 and also spent several periods behind bars remanded on other charges.

As a teenager, he had been interned without charge.

In 1983 he was involved in a mass escape by republican prisoners from the Maze paramilitary prison near Lisburn.

In 2005, then Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside used parliamentary privilege to claim that Storey was the IRA’s head of intelligence. He also alleged he was involved in the IRA’s £26.5 million robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast in 2004.

Two years ago Mr Storey’s house was targeted in an attack Sinn Fein blamed on dissident republicans.

Three years earlier, police investigating the murder of former IRA member Kevin McGuigan in Belfast arrested Storey.

He was subsequently released without charge.

PA