Former Adams bodyguard replaces Bobby Storey in top SF post

It is believed that Bobby Storey has not been in good health for some time
It is believed that Bobby Storey has not been in good health for some time

The senior republican who addressed a Falls Road rally saying “we ain’t gone away you know” has stepped down from his position as northern chairman of Sinn Fein.

Bobby Storey, who is understood to still retain “another officer role” in the party, did not stand for re-election to the position during a meeting in Londonderry last month.

Mr Storey has been replaced by Martin Lynch, the former chauffeur and bodyguard of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

In a statement a Sinn Fein spokesman said: “Martin Lynch has been a long standing member of Sinn Féin and was elected chairperson of Cuige Uladh at the recent annual general meeting on the 23rd January 2016.

“Bobby Storey has taken up another officer role within Cuige Uladh.”

It is understood Mr Storey has not been in good health for some time and “decided to take a back seat for a while”.

According to the Sunday Independent Mr Lynch is in his mid-50s and lives in Belfast.

Although well-known in Sinn Fein circles in Belfast, Mr Lynch is largely unknown in the Republic.

Bobby Storey, in one of his few public appearances, addressed a rally in west Belfast in May 2014 in support of Gerry Adams after his arrest for questioning about the murder and disappearance of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972.

Mrs McConville, who was known as one of the Disappeared, was found buried in a beach in 2003 on Shellinghill Beach (also known as Templetown Beach) at the eastern tip of the Cooley Peninsula.

She was subsequently buried beside her husband.

In the speech from a platform on the Falls Road, Mr Storey said: “We have a message for the British government, for the Irish government, for the cabal that is out there: we ain’t gone away you know.”

His words echoed Gerry Adams’ words at another Belfast rally after the 1996 ceasefire had been announced.