Northern Ireland

Tony Catney funeral: DUP calls for prosecutions

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A number of men dressed in military-style clothing attended Tony Catney's funeral

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has called for prosecutions over a republican paramilitary-style funeral.

Men dressed in military-style clothing, whose faces were partially covered, attended the funeral for ex-prisoner Tony Catney in Belfast on Wednesday.

The 55-year-old convicted murderer died on Saturday after a long illness.

Police said they carried out a "low-key policing operation" and if any criminal offence was detected in footage of the event, they would pursue the offenders.

DUP MLA Nelson McCausland also called for police to investigate reports that a volley of shots was fired as tribute to the former republican prisoner in Belfast on Tuesday night.

'Balaclava-wearing terrorists'

The Irish News published a photograph of four men wearing balaclavas, three of whom were pointing rifles in the air.

The location shown in the photograph is not known, but the men were pictured beside a photograph of Tony Catney, an Irish tricolour and a floral tribute showing the letters, IRA.

In a statement, Mr McCausland said: "In the funeral procession we saw masked men in full paramilitary uniforms which is clearly in breach of the law.

"Now there is also clear evidence of weapons being fired by balaclava-wearing terrorists.

"I look forward to hearing about a successful police investigation into these crimes and prosecutions following."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The masked men carried Tony Catney's coffin during the service on Wednesday

In a statement, a Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman said: "Police are aware of a funeral which took place on Wednesday, 13 August on the Falls Road, west Belfast.

"A low-key policing operation was carried out in the area and an evidence gathering operation was deployed.

"All available footage will be examined and where any criminal offences are detected, these will be pursued by police."

In response to claims that gunmen discharged a volley of shots in tribute to the dead man on Tuesday, the spokeswoman said: "Police have received no reports of shots being fired."

About eight men dressed in military-style clothing, including black berets and gloves, marched alongside the funeral cortege on Wednesday, and at one point they carried the coffin.

They accompanied the hearse from St Oliver Plunkett Church in Lenadoon to Milltown Cemetery, where Tony Catney was buried in the republican plot.