Who are the three men detained over the latest killing?

Bobby Storey
Bobby Storey

Police investigating last month’s murder of Kevin McGuigan arrested three leading republicans yesterday.

Here, the News Letter takes a look at the role each has played in the republican movement.

Bobby Storey, 59, from the Oldpark area of north Belfast

The former IRA prisoner is the current northern chairman of Sinn Fein. He is a close ally of Gerry Adams and has his own office at Stormont.

Mr Storey was one of several Provisional IRA inmates who escaped from the Maze in 1983 but was captured almost immediately, not far from the prison.

He was sentenced to 25 years for possession of a rifle but was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2005, the then Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside used parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons to name Mr Storey as the IRA’s head of intelligence – and claimed he was involved in the Northern Bank robbery.

Last year, Mr Storey was questioned by detectives over the abduction and murder of Jean McConville from her west Belfast home in 1972.

He was released without charge.

Eddie Copeland, 45, from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast

A former close friend of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison who helped carry the IRA commander’s coffin at his funeral in May.

In 1994, former UUP leader David Trimble used parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons to name Mr Copeland as an IRA godfather.

Mr Copeland spoke at the October 2013 anniversary tribute to Shankill bomber Thomas Begley – and shared the platform with Begley’s accomplice Sean Kelly, who survived the October 1993 attack.

Nine Protestants died when a bomb being planted by the IRA men exploded prematurely.

In February 1995, a soldier was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for opening fire on mourners at Begley’s funeral – hitting Mr Copeland twice.

Brian Gillen, 58, from the Lenadoon area of west Belfast

Mr Gillen has the lowest profile of the three men detained but was seen at the funeral of Jock Davison.

In 2001, Peter Robinson told the Commons that Mr Gillen was a member of the IRA’s ruling army council.

In the aftermath of the murder of two Army corporals who strayed into an IRA funeral in 1988, Pat Finucane successfully applied to the High Court to have Mr Gillen released from questioning at Castlereagh, alleging ill treatment.

Mr Gillen told a BBC reporter in 1999: “They told me that my solicitor [Finucane] was a Provo...we’ll have him taken out.”