Paramilitary-style funeral parade for dissident

The funeral of dissident Tony Catney
The funeral of dissident Tony Catney

Masked men in military-style uniform have taken to the streets of Belfast for the funeral of one leading dissident agitator.

The coffin of Tony Catney was led through west Belfast by the troop of men for the funeral at St Oliver Plunkett Parish Church.

Brian Shivers carries the coffin during   the funeral of veteran IRA volunteer Tony Catney,

Brian Shivers carries the coffin during the funeral of veteran IRA volunteer Tony Catney,

One of those bearing the coffin was Brian Shivers, who was cleared of the 2009 Massereene Barracks killings last year.

A cystic fibrosis sufferer, a court had heard at the time of the killings Mr Shivers was terminally ill with only a few years to live.

Also at the funeral was Ivor Bell, who earlier this year was charged with aiding and abetting the murder of Jean McConville – a crime in which he has denied any involvement.

Catney had been a former IRA prisoner and a critic of decommissioning and the Good Friday Agreement.

In an interview published on the website of Anthony McIntyre, an ex-IRA man-turned-writer, Catney claimed to have been “considered to be a fairly pivotal member of the IRA organisational team, which by-and-large was responsible for the organization that is now called Sinn Fein”.

He had been involved with the Republican Network for Unity, but had left it by mid-2010.

He was understood to have been terminally ill, and died on Saturday.

According to one press report, Catney was the brother-in-law of Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly.

Given the ostentatious IRA-type wear on display by those at his funeral – including sunglasses, leather gloves and black berets – the police were asked if they had been monitoring the situation.

The PSNI said: “Police are aware of a funeral which took place this morning, Wednesday August 13 on the Falls Road, west Belfast.

“A low -key policing operation was carried out in the area and an evidence-gathering operation was deployed.

“All available footage will be examined and where any criminal offences are detected, these will be pursued by police”.