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Priest’s funeral comments disgraceful: McCausland

Veteran IRA man Tony Catney had a paramilitary guard during  his funeral on Wednesday

Veteran IRA man Tony Catney had a paramilitary guard during his funeral on Wednesday

A priest’s comments at the funeral of former IRA terrorist Tony Catney have been described as ‘disgraceful’ by MLA Nelson McCausland.

He also called for a probe into the paramilitary display and the firing of weapons.

Catney, 55, from Belfast, was buried on Wednesday after dying of cancer.

Fr Aidan Brankin told mourners at the funeral in St Oliver Plunkett Church in Lenadoon that Mr Catney had fought for ‘justice for everyone’.

The high-profile republican, who was a member of Republican Network for Unity, was jailed in 1974 for the murder of 17-year-old Protestant Maurice Knowles and served 16 years in prison.

Mr McCausland said: “Mr Catney’s murder of a 17-year-old when he himself was just 16 was described as “cold-blooded” by a judge at the time.

“When released from prison he continued his IRA activities and was a supporter of recent murders by dissident terrorists.”

The North Belfast DUP MLA said the priest “will have undoubtedly been aware of Mr Catney’s past, his conviction for murder and his membership of a proscribed terrorist organisation when he said Tony Catney ‘fought for justice for everyone’.

“This was not someone who regretted their actions and then worked for the betterment of society. Instead Tony Catney was unrepentant about his past and about the use of terrorism.

“Does the priest in question believe Tony Catney was “fighting for justice” when he described the cold-blooded murders of David Black and Constable Ronan Kerr as ‘successful operations’?

“For a priest to make such comments effectively in support of terrorism is quite disgraceful.

“By Tony Catney’s actions in the past and his words in more recent times he showed absolutely no regard for human rights or basic human decency.”

Mr McCausland has called for police to probe other activities at the funeral.

He said: “In the funeral procession we saw masked men in full paramilitary uniforms which is clearly in breach of the law.

“Now there is also clear evidence of weapons being fired by balaclava-wearing terrorists. I look forward to hearing about a successful police investigation into these crimes and prosecutions following.”

Catney was arrested in 2009 following the Real ira murders of two soldiers at Massereene barracks but was freed without charge.

 

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