Shatter: Paramilitary tributes at RIRA leader funeral 'reprehensible'
09/09/2012 - 17:33:41
The show of strength by the Real IRA (RIRA) at the funeral of terror boss Alan Ryan has been condemned as "reprehensible" today by Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
A volley of shots were fired as the 32-year-old's remains left his family home in north Dublin on Saturday morning.
His coffin was draped in the tricolour and escorted to church by hundreds of supporters and associates dressed in republican uniform, including a colour party with their faces covered.
Mr Shatter said some events surrounding the funeral were "reprehensible and absolutely unacceptable".
"Paramilitary trappings should not blind people to the fact that what is at issue is criminal terrorism carried on by people who, for their own reasons, want to drag the people of this island back to a dark past," he said.
"In treating the will of the people, north and south, with contempt, they dishonour democracy.
"I recognise fully the immediate difficulties which face An Garda Siochana when people take advantage of a funeral to behave in this fashion.
"But the Garda Commissioner has assured me that they are pursuing rigorously any breaches of the law which took place.
"The gardaí, together with their colleagues in the north, will continue to take every action open to them to deal with the activities of members of these groups, whether they are engaging in terrorism or organised crime."
Ryan was gunned down near his family home in the Grange Lodge estate in Clongriffin last Monday.
A suspect in his 40s was arrested on Thursday and can be questioned for 72 hours.
There was a strong Garda presence around the Church of the Holy Trinity in Donaghmede as family and friends mourned the father-of-one.
The atmosphere tensed at his burial in Balgriffin cemetery, with armed gardaí and the riot squad on stand-by, but the service passed peacefully.
Well-known republican Colin Duffy, who was acquitted of murdering two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim, gave the graveside oration.
Slogans in memory of Ryan have been painted on walls near his home while black flags were hung on lampposts.
Sinn Féin councillor Micheal Mac Donncha said the murder was shocking, but warned dissidents do not have the support of the local community.
"As a public representative, I have to reflect the views of the local community, and it has to be said that there is great resentment at attempts to portray the so-called 'Real IRA' as being supported by this community," said Mr Mac Donncha.
"Wall slogans and black flags cannot hide the fact that this violent faction is rejected by the community in Donaghmede and that they represent no-one but themselves.
"Genuine Irish republicans throughout the country totally reject the activities of this group and other such factions who abuse the good name of Irish republicanism to further their own ends."
Ryan was due to go on trial for an alleged extortion racket and threatening a city-centre publican and making him cease trading within 24 hours when he was killed.
He was previously jailed for taking part in a RIRA weapons training camp in Meath in 2001 and served time for possession of a firearm in a separate incident.
The Dubliner was one of the leaders of the terror group in the city and been trying to extort money from drugs gangs, as well as legitimate businesses across the capital.
However, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (CSM), which is seen as the political wing of the RIRA, maintained their friend, comrade and activist worked tirelessly to tackle the scourge of drugs.
Niall Collins, Fianna Fáil's spokesman on justice, called on Mr Shatter and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to outline how they intend to address the public display of paramilitary activity at the funeral.
"This was a full-scale paramilitary-style funeral in broad daylight in the middle of Dublin," said Mr Collins.
"The scenes on the streets of Dublin yesterday were a stark reminder that attitudes and activity we thought we had left behind are still there in parts of our country."
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