– 18 August 2014
A fresh row broke out over IRA paramilitary displays today after it emerged a masked terror squad fired a volley of shots over a make-shift shrine to dissident republican Tony Catney.
The DUP called for a full police investigation after a video of the incident was posted online at the weekend, showing men in paramilitary uniforms firing shots as a tribute to the convicted killer who died recently.
The film was reportedly made in Belfast on Tuesday and shows three men armed with AK47 rifles in front of a photograph of the ex-prisoner, a tricolour and a floral “IRA” tribute to mark his death.
Events surrounding Catney’s funeral on Wednesday have also provoked controversy with calls for an investigation into accompanying paramilitary-style displays.
With the latest video now coming to light, the DUP has demanded the police include it in any investigation into paramilitary displays and all other attempts to “glorify terrorism”.
Speaking today, DUP MLA for North Belfast William Humphrey branded the salute as “evil”, saying it was clearly an attempt by dissidents to “assert their authority”.
He said: “I’m appalled. This is a clear attempt by dissidents and the IRA to assert their authority. Very clearly this is wrong, it’s evil. It has to be pursued by the police.
“It’s something we thought had been left behind and it’s very clear that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want to see these things condemned to the past and we don’t want to see this on our streets.”
He added: “The police need to be rigorous in their investigations and they need to be seen to be rigorous.
“There’s no place for any such commemorations in this society.”
UUP MLA Roy Beggs also condemned the gunmen’s actions, saying they were glorifying terrorism.
He said: “I condemn the use of weapons in an attempt to glorify someone who would have been involved in terrorism in the past.”
Catney’s funeral took place in the Suffolk area on Wednesday morning, with hundreds showing up to pay their respects.
The procession made its way to Milltown Cemetery accompanied by a number of prominent republicans, including Brian Shivers, Breandan McConnaith and Ivor Bell.
The PSNI have said they are reviewing footage gathered on the day, after eight masked men overtly walked the streets of Belfast during the funeral.
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