Belfast Telegraph

Republican chief McKee died a bitter, twisted man, says son of Troubles victim

Billy McCurrie’s father, James McCurrie, was randomly attacked and shot dead by the IRA in East Belfast in 1970.

The son of a family man shot dead by the IRA early in the Northern Ireland Troubles has branded former senior republican Billy McKee a bitter and twisted old man.

Billy McCurrie’s father, James McCurrie, was randomly attacked in East Belfast during what republicans know as the defence of St Matthew’s Catholic church in 1970, and he said he wanted to dispel myths about the tragedy.

Mr McCurrie said it was not a case of loyalists attacking St Matthew’s first, and violence had not been expected in that area.

The republican gang in the area was led by the IRA’s former Belfast officer commanding, McKee, who died last week aged 97.

A eulogy following his funeral Mass said he died “unrepentant” and had no regrets.

He died a bitter, twisted old man with none of his goals realised Billy McCurrie

Mr McCurrie said: “He lived and died under the Union flag, betrayed and forsaken by the movement he lived and breathed.

“He died a bitter, twisted old man with none of his goals realised.”

McKee split from mainstream republicanism and opposed Sinn Fein’s peace strategy. His aspiration for a United Ireland remained unfulfilled.

Mr McCurrie asked how supporters could eulogise someone who murdered innocent people.

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.

“How is it possible to eulogise someone who concocted a cocktail of lies and fed it to the community that he said he was defending?

“To honour a liar and a murderer says everything about the degenerate morality of Irish republicanism.”

Mr McCurrie’s father was only 44 and had been returning from a rare night out at a social club on the Albert Bridge Road with some friends when he was attacked.

His son said: “My dad caught the full force of the blast and was the first shot, that was my dad.”

Mr McCurrie said his father had gone ahead to ask his mother, Kathleen, to put the kettle on for his friends.

“At that time the area was mixed with Protestants and Catholics but after that event the communities were polarised.

“That is why, when I read about his murder being described as ‘loyalists attacking’, it galls me, as that is not what happened.”

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Billy McCurrie was only 12 when his father died. By the time he was 16 he had joined the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in response (Family/PA).

Mr McCurrie was only 12 when his father died. By the time he was 16 he had joined the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in response.

He reflected: “This devastated my family.

“As a result of what happened to my dad, I became involved in the UVF.”

His mother was three months pregnant at the time of the attack near Bryson and Beechfield streets.

He had a sister and a brother.

Mr McCurrie had been made redundant from Kelly’s Coal Merchants.

An offer of work as a security guard at Stormont arrived on the day of his funeral.

Another man, Bobby Neill, was killed the same night. Dozens of other men, women and children were injured.

Veteran republican McKee was wounded that night and taken to the Mater Hospital in Belfast.

Mr McCurrie said he was followed towards the hospital by members of the Army but they were “pulled back”.

He added: “Like a lot of historical cases, there are a number of unanswered questions.”

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) of independent detectives carried out a review which exonerated his father and found that it was a totally random shooting, Mr McCurrie said.

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