‘No paramilitary display’ at dissident’s funeral

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has insisted a paramilitary display will not be allowed at the funeral of dissident IRA figure Seamus McKenna.

South Armagh-born Mr McKenna, working as a labourer, died from injuries sustained early last week after falling from a school roof in Kilcurry, near Dundalk. He died in Beaumont Hospital after his organs had been harvested for transplant.

Suspected of involvement in the 1998 Omagh bombing, Mr McKenna was unsuccessfully sued by the families of those who were killed in the bombing.

The Garda Commissioner, at Templemore College yesterday, told journalists: “There is one army in this country and there is one policing service. We will ensure that remains the position.

“We do not like being present in any large numbers at a particularly sensitive time when people are burying their loved ones. But we will not allow any display of paramilitarism in this case or indeed beyond.”

On dissident IRA activities, Mr Callinan said the threat assessment level from the North is at “severe”, which means an attack is highly likely.

“It has traditionally been the case that active service units here in the South service the active service units in the North,” he said. “There is a huge nexus between the two.”

He said a recent ammunitions find in Santry was “particularly significant and there is a lot of analysis and inquiries being conducted as we speak in relation to that. But I want to compliment my members, both in terms of the Santry find and the case in Tallaght on the other side of the city where a number of people were detected having an IRA meeting.

“This new grouping is particularly of concern to us and we are going to do all we can to ensure that we out them out of business as soon as we can.”

Asked about former Provo members turned active dissidents, Mr Callinan said: “That is something that we monitor very closely.... Our job is to put them out of business.”


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