#OTD in 2001 – The first multiple State funeral is held in honour of ten IRA Volunteers, including Kevin Barry, who were executed for their role in the War of Independence. – Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland


RUC/PSNI to investigate breaches of parade rules at dissident republican march in Newry

Saoradh is linked to the New IRA, an amalgam of armed groups opposed to the peace process.

A republican colour party leads the parade. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Police have launched an investigation after a dissident republican march in Newry breached parade restrictions.

Saoradh held a march to commemorate hunger strikers in Newry Co Down on Saturday after it was given the go-ahead by the Parades Commission to abide by its strict conditions.

Police have identified Saoradh – liberation in Irish – as the policing wing of the new IRA, who have been blamed for shooting journalist Lyra McKee on April 18.

The murder has been widely condemned across the political spectrum, criticism fuelled by a statement released by the group apologising to the family of Ms McKee.

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee (Chiho Tang/Oranga

The gunman was aiming at police during disturbances in the Creggan in Co Londonderry when he hit the 29-year-old, who died in Altnagelvin Hospital in the city.

The parade began at Kilmorey street and made its way through the city to Raymond McCreesh Park, where a rally was held to commemorate the IRA and INLA members who took part in hunger strikes.

Belfast dissident republican and Saoradh national executive member Dee Fennell said it was appropriate to end the march on the street named after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

He added: “No doubt this commemoration will become a mainstay in the republican calendar for years to come. It is particularity fitting that today’s proceedings finished here in Raymond McCreesh Park.

“I want to commend the local people who faced ongoing intimidation and vilification for ensuring this park remains named after a gallant IRA volunteer and H Block martyr.”

Several hundred participants took part in the march, with some wearing paramilitary style garb.

Police officers following the parade could be heard telling the marchers: “This parade breaches parade commission determination and you are now liable for prosecution.”

The Parade Commission’s code of conduct prohibits the display of all references, insignia, flags or emblems relating to any proscribed organisation and the wearing of paramilitary-style clothing is also banned.

A republican colour party leads the parade. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The code of conduct states participants “must act with due regard for the rights, traditions and feelings of others, and must refrain from using words, or behaviour, which could reasonably be perceived as being sectarian, provocative or threatening”.

PSNI chief inspector Nigel Henry said the parade breached the Parades Commission determinations on a number of occasions, despite numerous verbal warnings.

“The aim of the policing operation today was to keep people safe and facilitate the parade in line with the law. A full evidence gathering operation was in place and an investigation into the breaches has commenced,” he said.

Saoradh is linked to the New IRA, an amalgam of armed groups opposed to the peace process.

The New IRA has been responsible for multiple murder bids against members of security forces.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Aine McMahon PA the original story 

Watch “Old Scores – Bobby Sands Documentary 1983” on YouTube


IRA man Alex Murphy who killed corporal ‘unrepentant’, funeral told

The coffin of Alex Murphy is carried by his comrades along the Falls Road in West Belfast

Police are reviewing footage following a paramilitary-style funeral in west Belfast for an IRA man convicted of killing two corporals in 1988.

Alex Murphy (61) received a life sentence along with Hugh Maguire for killing Royal Signals corporals Derek Wood (24) and David Howes (23).

The soldiers were shot dead after being dragged from their car, stripped and beaten by a mob when they strayed into the funeral cortege for IRA man Kevin Brady, one of those killed when loyalist Michael Stone attacked a funeral at Milltown Cemetery.

A graphic photo of Fr Alec Reid kneeling to give the last rites beside Mr Howe’s body has become one of the most harrowing images of the Troubles.

Murphy, a father-of-four, died last Thursday and hundreds gathered on the Falls Road yesterday as a coffin draped in the Irish tricolour was carried from his home.

Around 15 men in the funeral parade wore berets, sunglasses and black jackets bearing the symbol of the Provisional IRA’s D Company 2nd Battalion.

Nicknamed the Dogs, the notorious Belfast unit was responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, including Bloody Friday in June 1972 which saw at least 20 car bombs detonated across Belfast, killing nine people and injuring 130.

At the garden of remembrance, where members of the unit are honoured, the coffin was saluted by those wearing uniforms during a minute’s silence.

The funeral of Alex Murphy takes place on the Falls Road in West Belfast August 19th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)Henry Reid, a friend of the deceased, told the crowd that Murphy – also known as Alec – remained unrepentant about his IRA past and became “disillusioned” when he was no longer needed after the armed campaign ended.

He said Murphy was 12 when he heard “gun battles raging on the streets”, referring to the Falls Road curfew in July 1970.

Four civilians were killed by the Army when gun battles broke out with the IRA following a two-day military curfew and extensive house searches.

Murphy was also arrested at 15 and was one of the youngest internees in Long Kesh.

As “a very active volunteer” he was returned to prison on more than one occasion.

In the only reference to Murphy’s role in the corporals’ deaths, Mr Reid said the killing of three IRA members by the SAS in March 1988 “set off a chain of events which would result in Alec again finding himself inside a prison cell, he was charged with murder and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on June 1, 1989”.

He was released after 10 years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and immediately reported back to D Company.

He added: “But like many before him, it was clear that Alec’s type of service was no longer needed and he was sidelined and became disillusioned.

“He was cast aside and forgotten about by those now in high positions, what a shame.”

He said Murphy was unrepentant, adding that he “never tried to sanitise his involvement in the liberation struggle”.

“And is on the record as saying if he had to do it all again, he would.”

A police Land Rover fitted with a camera was present as the funeral cortege proceeded to St Peter’s Cathedral.

Superintendent Lorraine Dobson said: “An evidence-gathering operation was in place.

“Police will now review all evidence gathered and, if any offences are detected, a police investigation will be carried out.”

During the funeral Mass, Fr Martin Graham made no direct reference to Murphy’s crimes, but said he was “profoundly affected” by the outbreak of the Troubles.

“He would be in and out of jail for most of his life.

“But that is not to say that Alec had no other focus because we know he had many,” he said.

“He excelled in hurling and Gaelic football and boxing at Immaculata.

“And above all of that, he loved his family.

“His parents and brothers and sisters, and then his own children and grandchildren as they came along.”

He is survived by his children Sean, Mairghread, Piaras and Conall.

His three sons were among family members who gave readings before his remains were taken to Roselawn Crematorium.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Allan Preston for the original story.

Remembering Óglach Charlie Breslin and brothers Óglach Michael and Óglach David Devine who were executed by the SAS on February 23rd 1985

Funeral held for PIRA founder Billy McKee in Belfast

The funeral of veteran Republican Billy McKee was held at St Peter’s Cathedral on Saturday morning June 15, 2019. Mr McKee died on Tuesday aged 97.

The funeral of Billy McKee, one of the founding members of the Provisional IRA, has taken place in Belfast.

Thousands lined the streets of west Belfast as republicans from across Ireland descended on the city for the service at St Peter’s Cathedral.

Draped in a flag Mr McKee’s coffin was carried from the church in a gun carriage, with men wearing the military-style black berets associated with the IRA part of the procession.

Read More:
IRA veteran Billy McKee’s final journey
Malachi O’Doherty: Billy McKee was a fanatic who realised his goal was unachievable

The veteran republican who opposed the peace process died “unrepentant”, mourners were told.

A eulogy was read at a memorial garden on the Falls Road, a short distance from the church.

A mourner said: “Billy remained steadfast to the end and had no regrets, despite all the hardship that he endured for his republicanism.

“For him it was not for a new Ireland or an agreed Ireland, it was for a 32-county independent republic that was declared at the front of the General Post Office in 1916.”

He was a former “Officer Commanding” of the IRA and involved with D Company of the organisation, the spokesman added.

Billy McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday

Mr McKee was also a devout Catholic who went to Mass every day, and whose deafness meant his prayers were audible to other worshippers.

The address said: “We will remember you with pride.

“You were one in a million and a true republican to the end – unbowed, unbroken, and most of all – unrepentant.”

Mr McKee passed away at his Belfast home on Tuesday at the age of 97.

The lifelong republican first joined the IRA in the 1930s and was imprisoned for IRA activity numerous times over the years.

When the Troubles broke out in the late 1960s he became the OC (Officer Commanding) of the IRA’s Belfast Brigade.

He was involved in a gun battle at St Matthew’s Church in the Short Strand during which two Protestants were killed alongside a Catholic civilian. Mr McKee was shot five times during the fighting but survived.

While imprisoned in Crumlin Road in the early 1970s, the veteran republican led a hunger strike in a bid to win political status for paramilitary prisoners.

Mr McKee was forced out of the IRA in 1977 and spent his remaining years as a fierce critic of Sinn Fein’s move towards peace.

His bural took place at Milltown Cemetery.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story