Bobby Storey funeral: ‘Turning terrorist hard men into heroes rubs salt into our wounds’
A Troubles victims’ advocate says today’s funeral for IRA figure Bobby Storey will be like “rubbing salt into the wounds” of people bereaved by paramilitaries.
David Clements, a Methodist minister based in Carrickfergus, made the remarks ahead of the 11am funeral mass for Mr Storey in west Belfast today.
Prior to the mass, it is expected that his coffin will be taken from his home to St Agnes’ chapel. And after the service his remains will be interred at Milltown Cemetery.
Rev Dr Clements sits on the board of the Wave Trauma Centre in Belfast – a resource for people suffering as a result of the Troubes.
His own father William was killed in an IRA attack on an RUC station in east Tyrone (along with Constable George Gilliland) in 1985.
He noted there have been a number of republican funerals where Covid-19 rules were flouted, adding that there is “a good deal of hypocrisy in that... I’m quite sure some of those people would’ve had Dominic Cummings sacked if they could”.
He continued: “It does stick in the craw when somebody that’s almost certainly been involved in terrible terrorist acts is then eulogised.
“I suppose it’s inevitable; part of the myth-making.
“When Sinn Fein, and the republican movement generally, insist their campaign of terrorism was justified, and people like Bobby Storey are justified because of what they did, it rubs salt into the wounds of those people like myself.”
Mr Storey has been credited in some quarters with using his muscle and fearsome reputation to sell the peace process to hardline PIRA members, and to quash dissent within the movement.
Rev Clements said if true then Mr Storey deserves “some credit” for using his “powers of intimidation to ensure others’ war was over too”.
But he added: “By his reputation, he was involved as one of their hard men. I don’t think he ever said that he was sorry for things that he did.
“We’re a long way away from the republicans coming to that place. I know they’ve released apologies of some kind – you know, for killing innocent bystanders and so on. But that’s not enough.
“They need to say sorry for shooting soldiers and policemen. That was never justified.
“Their political goals are reasonable of course. If we ended up in a united Ireland it wouldn’t kill me, and I wouldn’t worry about it.
“But what I won’t tolerate is people using violence and threat of violence to advance their political agendas.
“I don’t gloat over his death. For me, Storey and others like him – and the people who murdered my father – will find final judgement and justice at the hands of God. And I’m content to leave it at that.”
Meanwhile Father Eddie McGee, spokesman for the diocese of Down and Connor, said: “We’d be calling for all people to follow the advice and guidance from the Public Health Agency and to strictly follow social distancing measures for the health and safety of all concerned – and also out of respect for the family.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.