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Republican SINN FÉIN Poblachtach
For immediate release
For further information contact: Richard Walsh (Publicity Officer) on 07835 620 592 (Six Counties) or 087 261 8603 (26-Counties)
LURGAN FIVE RELEASED
Following raids on Friday morning, during which four Republicans were arrested in the Lurgan area of County Armagh, a fifth man was held after being stopped on his journey from work. All were subsequently released from Antrim interrogation centre on Saturday evening without charge.
A spokesperson for Republican Sinn Féin said:
“We have since discovered that SDLP Stormont member Dolores Kelly had arrived at the scene of one of the addresses raided several minutes prior to the raid commencing. This is a clear indication that she is held in sufficient esteem by her British masters to be informed in advance of operations being conducted against the people of North Armagh.
“For our part we call upon the people of Ireland to join with the Republican Movement in ridding Ireland of the illegal and morally bankrupt British presence.”
Republican Sinn Fein
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has told dissident republicans to “pack up and go away” at an IRA commemoration event in Derry on Sunday.
In a hard-hitting message to armed republican groups, Mr. McGuinness dismissed their campaign as “bogus” and “pointless”.
He also said the response of the people of Derry to the murder of Emmett Shiels in Creggan last week was an indication of the lack of support for dissident republican groups.
“These groups should listen to the voice of the people and pack up and go away. They have come to the point of no return, armed action in the absence of a political strategy and support are pointless and do nothing to advance the cause of Irish freedom. Indeed the opposite is the reality,” he said.
Mr. McGuinness also offered to hold talks with the leaders of dissident republican groups. “I have heard some within these groups argue that their motivation is to drag the IRA back onto the battlefield. That will not happen. And indeed, myself, Gerry Adams and other republican leaders have offered to meet with these various groups to set out in very clear terms where we see the struggle sitting and where it is headed in the years ahead,” he said.
Remarkable find reveals the stark truth about war
**Additional material onsite
By Des Blackadder
30 June 2008
“The account of his final days is very touching and I thought this link might be of interest to someone ”
The traumatic effect of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on July1, 1916 is a well documented tale.
Movements of the so-called ‘big battalions’ have been exhaustively written about in a plethora of publications but every now and again, a little snippet of information surfaces which brings the awful tragedy of that bloodiest day into local perspective.
[‘The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, fought from July to November 1916, was among the largest battles of the First World War. With more than 1.5 million casualties, it is also one of the bloodiest military operations recorded.’ —Wikipedia]
Over the past few years, Great War researcher, Sue Light, who concentrates on the role played by nurses during the conflict, has been examining the wartime diary of Edith Appleton, a QAIMNS Nursing Sister, which has recently been put online.
And, amazingly, she was able to trace one of the soldiers mentioned in the historic document to the Ballymena area.
Rifleman James Lennox, from Edward Street, in the Harryville area of the town, was severely wounded on July 1, 1916. His wounds were mortal and he passed away, after weeks of stoic suffering on August 22.
Sue says: “Few men are named in the diary, but there are occasions where the man can be identified.
“During July and August 1916, she (Nurse Appleton) nurses a young man who everyone knew was without hope, but somehow clung to life for weeks.
“Although not identified at first, he is later named as ‘Lennox’ and by his date of death, I could eventually pin him down as:-
Nationality: United Kingdom
Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Rifles
Unit Text: 12th Bn.
Date of Death: 22/08/1916
Service No: 1925
Additional information: Son of James and Sarah Lennox, of Edward St., Harryville, Ballymena.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: II. C. 17.
Cemetery: ETRETAT CHURCHYARD.
Sue added:”The account of his final days is very touching and I thought this link might be of interest to someone in your town – it is so rare to have this sort of descriptive writing of an ordinary soldier.”
The link to the site is below – the entries regarding James Lennox begin on July 13th 1916. The diary entry for August 23, 1916 makes particularly emotional reading:
For the part on Lennox’s death, click on the links covering July and August.
If you want to find out more about Ballymena’s role in the Great War then go to our sub-site:
30 June 2008
Three men have been arrested in Derry in connection with the murder of 22 year-old Emmett Shiels
The men presented themselves at Strand Road PSNI station this afternoon before being arrested and taken to the serious crime suite at Antrim PSNI station.
The PSNI confirmed the men had been arrested. “We can confirm that three men from Derry have been arrested in connection with the investigation into the murder of Emmett Shiels,” the spokesperson said.
Two men were arrested last week as part of the investigation but both were later released without charge.
By Ed Carty
Monday June 30 2008
CAMPAIGNERS who lost a lengthy court battle to reroute the controversial M3 motorway are seeking legal advice over reports on the archaeological heritage in the area.
The TaraWatch group, led by Vincent Salafia, have asked lawyers to look into whether a High Court ruling backing the road may be struck out.
The Sixth World Archaeological Congress, which began in Dublin yesterday, is examining a report by an expert who assessed the significance of historical sites along the M3 route in Co Meath.
It has questioned archaeological findings which paved the way for work to begin on the road. “Legal advice is immediately being sought,” Mr Salafia said. “There may be a possibility of vacating the judgment or, at a minimum, suing for damages.”
The High Court ruled in 2005 that none of the 38 areas examined before construction on the road began were national monuments and that the wider area around the Hill of Tara could not be considered a single national monument.
TaraWatch will this week meet officials from the UNESCO group as it continues its campaign to have the Hill of Tara and surrounding lands declared a World Heritage Site.
– Ed Carty
Sunday June 29, 2008
**And isn’t this special?
The EU is close to finalising an agreement with the US that would allow the FBI to see the internet browsing habits and credit card histories of UK citizens.
However, the prospect of an agreement between Brussels and Washington that will lower barriers to swapping previously private data, including travel history and spending patterns, will alarm civil rights advocates.
Talks about the transfer of highly personal information held by the UK government and leading companies to American security agencies began following the September 2001 terrorist attacks. US counter-terrorism officials argued that increased information on the movements and habits of European residents would help prevent a repeat attack.
Details of a joint report by US and EU negotiators indicate that progress on the agreement is advanced, following years of opposition from European states with stricter privacy laws. One final hurdle still to be cleared is whether British and European citizens can sue the US government over its handling of their personal data.
Another area of concern relates to what ‘appropiate safeguards’ have been agreed to prevent the US authorities from requesting further information such as the religion, political opinion and ‘sexual life’ of a British resident.
Civil Rights’ Website Launch – www.nicivilrights.org
The recent local launch by civil rights veterans of their 1968 40th anniversary commemorative website was attended by the newly-elected Mayor of Derry, Cllor. Gerard Diver and a former mayor, Helen Quigley, in addition to past residents of Springtown Camp, as well as several 1960s’ activists, including the former MP for Mid-Derry, Ivan Cooper. The site, located at www.nicivilrights.org has attracted a fair degree of media attention and as a result a major increase in the number of “hits” has been recorded.
The website includes a video on the early struggle for civil rights and the details of the full commemorative programme of events across the North and beyond. Of particular local interest will be obituaries on prominent civil rights figures, which are being added to on a regular basis. Currently these include tributes to the late ‘Vinny’ Coyle, who was in charge of over 700 march stewards, Cathy Harkin who founded Derry’s Women’s Aid, the radical author John McGuffin and the late Mary Ellen O’Doherty who died in her 100thyear last June, who was often referred to as the “Mother of the Civil Rights”.
The local commemoration committee is appealing not only for other obituaries but also personal memories, photographs and other memorabilia of that dramatic era which led to major reforms across the Six Counties. It is feared that a great deal of historic material may be lost forever if such is not collected and properly recorded during this 40th anniversary year.
The commemoration committee, which meets every Thursday evening at 8PM, can be contacted on 028-71-286359 or by e-mail at
**Via email from Dawn Michele Duarte
29 June 2008
Cash paid by food company to protect its executives from further abduction turns up in dormant account
CASH seized from a dormant bank account earlier this year was protection money paid to the IRA on behalf of a British food company following the kidnapping of Don Tidey, one of its executives.
Almost €6m in IRA funds, which had been frozen in a bank account for more than 20 years, was paid into the public coffers in March. A sum of IR£1.7m was initially sequestered by a judge in February 1985 after gardai were tipped off that it had been paid to the IRA on the orders of Associated British Foods (ABF) to ensure that none of its executives was kidnapped again.
ABF is said to have entered into negotiations with the IRA after it kidnapped Tidey, a Dublin-based executive, at gunpoint in November 1983. He was held hostage for 23 days until he was rescued by gardai following a shootout in woodland close to Ballinamore in Co Leitrim.
Gary Sheehan, a 20-year-old trainee garda, and Patrick Kelly, 35, an army private and father of four, were murdered during the rescue. Tidey was unharmed.
The Special Criminal Court last week ordered the acquittal of Brendan “Bik” McFarlane, 56, a convicted IRA killer, on charges of kidnapping Tidey. The non-jury court ruled that admissions he supposedly made to gardai were inadmissible.
Tidey was taken at gunpoint from outside his home at Stocking Lane in Rathfarnham in November 1983 as he set off with his 13-year-old daughter for school. Terrorists later demanded a ransom of IR£5m (€6.35m).
According to reliable garda sources, ABF decided to pay the IRA ¤2.2m through Control Risks, a London-based security firm. The food company had been told the IRA was planning to kidnap another of its executives, or would attempt to seize Tidey again. The company, which owned the Quinnsworth supermarket chain, decided to cut a deal with the IRA rather than take the risk.
Garry Weston, ABF’s then chairman, also feared that his life and his family’s safety would remain under threat if the company did not meet the IRA’s demands. His brother, Galen, was the subject of an IRA kidnap attempt in 1983. A gang of terrorists surrounded his Wicklow home, but gardai had already tipped off the businessman and he was in London. Galen Weston and his wife, model Hilary Frayne, moved to Canada shortly afterwards.
Ben Dunne, then head of Dunnes Stores, was also kidnapped by the IRA in the 1980s and a ransom is believed to have been paid. Terrorists also seized and ransomed a number of other business people, including Peter Sims and the wife of businessman Albert Folens.
ABF is believed to have paid the protection money into a Swiss bank account controlled by the IRA, and it was later transferred to a branch of the Bank of Ireland in Navan, Co Meath.
Once it was tracked down by MI5 and garda special branch, the Irish government was alerted and rushed legislation through the Oireachtas to freeze the funds. It said the money had been raised by the IRA through “extortion under the threat of kidnap and murder”.
Although ABF denied it had caved into the IRA’s demands, the company’s payment infuriated Margaret Thatcher’s government. “MI5 and Thatcher were of the view that if the IRA managed to get its hands on such a large amount of money, it would have encouraged them to organise more kidnappings,” said one retired garda.
“Thatcher reckoned the money would have kept the IRA in business for years, which was an accurate assessment. It had shown the IRA that kidnappings, or the threat of them, could generate substantial amounts.”
The frozen money was later claimed by two businessmen, Alan Clancy and Dave McCartney, who took a High Court action to secure it. Clancy, who owned a chain of public houses in New York and Ireland, claimed the cash was for a pork-manufacturing business.
Clancy was a republican sympathiser and businessman from Louth who had emigrated to America. Garda special branch had identified him as being friendly with senior IRA figures from Co Meath, while McCartney was known to have republican leanings. The High Court dismissed their claim in 1988.
Clancy and McCartney later appealed the decision to the Supreme Court but never sought a hearing date. The money, which was earning interest, lay for more than two decades until lawyers for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sought its forfeiture in March.
Justice Kevin Feeney directed that the money be paid to the Department of Justice “for the benefit of central funds”. It had more than doubled by the time it was confiscated
Provisional IRA’s claim that McCartney family declined an offer to punish his killers is ‘pure fiction’, say Robert’s sisters
The Provisional IRA never offered to shoot those directly involved in the murder of Robert McCartney, the McCartney sisters have told the Sunday Tribune.
The claim was made in a statement by the IRA in March 2005 and has been widely reported in the media, including in recent days, as fact. The IRA claimed the family rejected its offer.
However, Catherine McCartney said: “The IRA never made such an offer. We always wanted Robert’s killers to face punishment through the courts, but this offer never existed in the first place. It’s pure fiction.”
It was just one of the many examples of the IRA and Sinn Féin spinning the story in an attempt at damage limitation following the murder, which Sinn Féin initially attempted to portray as the result of a bar-room brawl.
In terms of minimising the electoral repercussions for the party, Sinn Féin’s tactics appeared to have worked, in the North anyway. It suffered minimum short-term electoral damage, losing a council seat in the Short Strand area of east Belfast and failing to make gains in south Belfast.
The effect in other parts of the city, and across the North generally, was negligible. In the Republic, however, the killing damaged Sinn Féin’s credibility considerably as it sought to widen its support base.
The party was particularly concerned about the effect publicity surrounding the murder would have in the US where the McCartney sisters embarked on a high-profile visit, meeting President Bush.
The British government and unionists used the murder – which followed on the Northern Bank robbery – to exert pressure on Sinn Féin to sign up to policing and on the IRA to decommission. Ultimately, this strengthened the hand of Gerry Adams and those in the leadership who wished to cement Sinn Féin further into the peace process.
While Sinn Féin publicly supported the sisters’ campaign for justice, Catherine McCartney said it privately worked to undermine them. On the ground, there was a widespread whispering campaign to demonise the sisters. They were alternatively presented as SDLP stooges or dissident republicans.
Paula McCartney said she handed Gerry Adams the names of six alleged suspects in the murder. She said he insisted he didn’t know any of them but a photograph of the Sinn Féin president with one of the men was published in a newspaper the following week.
The IRA claimed to have expelled a high-ranking member, along with two other volunteers, over events on the night of the murder, but this man was later seen in the company of high-ranking Provisionals and is still well regarded in those ranks. The sisters do not believe he was ever expelled.
Sinn Féin and the IRA stated that witnesses were not being intimidated and were free to give evidence about the murder. The litmus test was whether or not anyone with vital evidence came forward after these statements: they did not. On the ground, there was still ongoing intimidation.
Robert McCartney’s two friends, Ed Gowdy and Brendan Devine, both told the court they’d met the IRA several times after the murder. Between them, they had around eight meetings with the paramilitary organisation.
“If the IRA was simply advising these men to tell the truth about Robert’s murder, as they have said, why did it need to meet them so many times?” asked Catherine McCartney. “If the IRA’s only motive was to reassure these men that they should give an honest account of events, I cannot understand the need for more than one, or at most two, meetings.”
Loyalists given grants in exchange for a promise not to burn harmful tyres
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday June 29, 2008
Orangemen are going green this marching season: community groups behind the traditional 11 July bonfires across loyalist areas have received grants of up to £3,000 from Northern Ireland’s 26 local councils to ensure that serious pollutants such as tyres are not burnt.
Eventually the Orange Order leadership hopes to phase out the use of bonfires to mark the start of the Twelfth, loyalism’s most sacred day. They are looking at replacing the conflagrations of wood and rubbish with self-contained beacons modelled on the ones used in the 19th century. Nationalist political leaders have complained for decades that built-up areas become choked with pollution from the tyres burnt in the weeks leading up to the eve of the Twelfth.
Dr Alasdair McDonnell, the SDLP MP for South Belfast, has campaigned against the practice and yesterday welcomed moves to stop tyre-burning. ‘There are up to 50 pollutants released into the atmosphere when the tyres are burnt. Over previous Twelfths, a pall of black smoke hung over Belfast for days. It is not just an environmental issue but also a health one,’ he said.
Robert Saulters, the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge of Ireland, confirmed this weekend that his organisation had backed the eco-friendly initiative. ‘While the Order does not organise bonfires, it works very closely with community organisations that do,’ he said.
‘They were a very important part of the Protestant culture, but people should always remember that there are important safety implications which should be adhered to. It is also important to take into consideration the location of these bonfires. The Order is working with many different agencies to ensure that bonfires are enjoyed by many in a safe environment. It is very important that the people who build bonfires pay attention to all the advice on what they should contain – and many items such as tyres, which are harmful to the environment, should not be used.’
The Order will be publishing leaflets this marching season for distribution at bonfire sites to emphasise these points, Saulters added.
Tomorrow the largest of the loyalist marching institutions will officially unveil its plans for an environmentally friendly 11 July alongside Northern Ireland’s Health and Public Safety Minister, Michael McGimpsey.
Hugh Smyth, the Progressive Unionist councillor for Belfast’s Shankill Road and a former Lord Mayor of the city, confirmed that many of the bonfire groups across the urban loyalist heartland had received council money this year. It will be spent on building beacons, buying material such as wood for the fires and paying for street parties for children at the bonfire sites.
He said a problem remained with unscrupulous local businesses that were still trying to use bonfire sites as a dump for their refuse, much of which contains pollutants.
By Marie Louise McCrory West Belfast Correspondent
RIOT police are permanently patrolling a west Belfast neighbourhood where a man was murdered just months ago in a bid to disrupt the actions of a paramilitary-inspired gang of young hoods who are terrorising the streets.
The PSNI’s Tactical Support Group (TSG) – who wear the navy boiler suit uniform – are being deployed in the lower Falls area every night in a bid to wipe out anti-social behaviour and disrupt the actions of the Divis Hoods Liberation Army (DHLA).
The tactical team – code-named the Jades – are normally based in Belfast city centre but have been shifted to the lower Falls area as fear of crime hits an all-time high among residents.
According to police the DHLA, made up of 30 males who live in the area, have been involved in “a wide spectrum of criminal activity” ranging from anti-social behaviour and petty crime, to assaults.
The gang’s actions have turned the area into a no-go zone after dark.
In March, father-of-two Frank ‘Bap’ McGreevy was beaten in his Ross Street home and died three days later.
One man has been charged in connection with the 51-year-old’s killing.
The incident prompted outrage in the community and police were widely criticised for a lack of action on the ground.
The Jades have now been deployed in the area permanently to take a robust approach and have been instructed to utilise bail checks and stop-and-search legislation in pursuit of that goal.
Since March 25, 76 people have been arrested in the lower Falls as part of Operation Streetsafe and officers have stop and searched 129 people. Arrests have been made for a number of crimes including outstanding warrants, motoring offences, disorderly behaviour/assaults, drugs, theft, robbery, indecent behaviour and car theft.
Officers have also carried out 891 bail checks and found 79 breaches. Ten people have been arrested for breaching their bail conditions.
Fifteen houses have been searched and alcohol has been seized on 86 occasions.
Chief Superintendent Gary White said it had been “a good operation and it has made good progress”,
“It has made a very tangible difference to the quality of the lives of the people of the lower Falls area,” he said.
“If there is a crime then it will be dealt with professionally.”
Report highlights anti-social behaviour
According to a 12-month report presented to the District Policing Partnership, overall crime in west Belfast has fallen by 17 percent in the past year, though anti-social behaviour has risen by 18 percent.
The number of domestic burglaries rose by 3 percent in the past 12 months from 373 incidents to 384 in the past year.
There have been 91 drug seizures with a total cash value of £138, 925.
These seizures included 2,994 grams of cannabis resin, 600 grams of amphetamine powder, 419 grams of cocaine powder, 18 amphetamine tablets and 124 grams of herbal cannabis.
There were also 79 cannabis plants seized and nine cannabis joints.
During this period, 38 premises were searched for drugs and 56 people were arrested. Of these, 22 people were charged with drugs offences.
During 2007/2008, there were 875 vehicles recovered.
Of these, 478 were stolen vehicles – 155 of which had been stolen in west Belfast.
There were more than 175 notices served on drivers caught using their mobile phones while driving and 92 people were caught speeding by the fixed detection camera on the Springfield Road outside New Barnsley Police Station.
29 June 2008
Victims Commissioners have taken part in a groundbreaking online chat with News Letter readers.
Recently appointed commissioners Mike Nesbitt and Brendan McAllister answered readers’ questions on a range of issues connected with the remit of the new body.
The active involvement and scale of questioning was such that they had to extend their time online by 30 minutes to cope with with demand.
To open the question and answer session >>click here. Then click on the circular green arrow in the centre of the column to proceed.
A 19-year-old man who was being questioned about the murder of Londonderry man Emmett Shiels has been released without charge.
The INLA has been been blamed for shooting the first-time-father-to-be in the early hours of Tuesday, although that group has strongly denied involvement.
The 19-year-old suspect was released on Saturday evening.
Up to a thousand people attended the 22-year-old’s funeral on Saturday in Londonderry, with mourners including Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and SDLP leader Mark Durkan
Mr Shiels, who police said was completely innocent, was shot on the Creggan estate in Londonderry after he intervened when an armed gang targetted his friends. The PSNI said he had not been involved in any violence.
Police have released CCTV footage which showed the masked men at the time of the killing.
29 June 2008
The republican who shot dead loyalist leader Billy Wright in the Maze prison 11 years ago has died.
Christopher ‘Crip’ McWilliams led the INLA unit that shot Wright as he sat in a prison van inside the jail in December 1997.
It is understood that McWilliams died in Newry’s Daisyhill Hospital in this morning from cancer.
The killing rattled the peace process and sparked strong retribution.
McWilliams, who was in his 40s, was one of three INLA members who carried out the infamous shooting.
He received a life sentence for the murder, which he carried out support from fellow republican prisoners John Kennaway, and John “Sonny” Glennon. All three men were released early from jail under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Billy Wright Inquiry is ongoing at Banbridge Courthouse and is probing the possibility of state collusion in the killing.
Commemorating The 40th Anniversary of The Civil Rights Campaign
28 June 2008
The funeral of Emmett Sheils, the 22-year-old murdered in the Creggan area of Derry on Tuesday, has taken place.
Mr Sheils was buried at the City Cemetery following Requiem Mass
He was buried at the City Cemetery following Requiem Mass at St Eugene’s Cathedral.
Mr Sheils, from Tyrconnell Street in the Bogside, was shot in the Bligh’s Lane area at about 0045 BST on Tuesday.
In his homily, Fr Michael Canny said he hoped Emmett Sheils’ death could be used as “a catalyst for change”.
Around two dozen friends of Mr Sheils’ flanked the cortege wearing Celtic jerseys, which said either Emmett or Shiels on the back.
Police are continuing to question a 19-year-old man arrested in connection with the murder.
Another man was arrested but was released on Thursday.
On Friday, police officers distributed leaflets to houses in the Bogside and Creggan areas, and put up posters appealing for information.
Police have also released CCTV footage of the gang suspected of involvement in the murder making their way up Bligh’s Lane in the Creggan moments before the shooting.
Some members of the gang were masked while one had his coat over his head.
Up to 1,000 people attended a vigil in memory of Mr Sheils in the city on Tuesday night.
His family have thanked the people of Derry for their support during their ordeal.
A gun has been stolen from the house of a police officer during a burglary near Templepatrick in County Antrim.
A legally held handgun and a car were taken during the creeper burglary on the Seven Mile Straight in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Sinn Fein have called for an inquiry into the theft of the police-issue weapon.
The car, a Mini Cooper, was later found by police abandoned in the Stewartstown Road area of west Belfast.
Several other items were taken in the burglary.
Sinn Fein West Belfast assembly member Jennifer McCann appealed for people to be “very vigilant” following the theft of the gun.
“Anyone with any information about this incident and the whereabouts of the handgun should immediately come forward.
“I would appeal to whoever may still have the weapon to hand it back.”
The robbery took place at about 0330 BST on Saturday.
A controversial Orange Order parade passed off peacefully in Belfast today, but a senior official called for talks to end the deadlock over future marches.
Parades Commission chairman Roger Poole made his appeal after the Orange Order’s Whiterock parade took place without major incident today.
The march was the scene of serious violence in the past and the commission placed restrictions on a section of its route crossing a sectarian interface in west Belfast.
The Order hit out at the commission for allowing only 50 marchers to cross the so-called peace line on to the Springfield Road.
Today Mr Poole said the government-sponsored Parades Commission, which rules on controversial marches, welcomed the fact that the parade had not sparked violence.
“It is vital that when there is disagreement on parades that all sides adhere to decisions of the commission. The commission also acknowledges the positive approach adopted by those involved in managing today’s event,” he said
“Both sides in this dispute have indicated their willingness to re-engage in meaningful dialogue this September.
“The commission views this is as the renewal of a genuine effort to find a long term sustainable solution to the issue of parading on the Springfield Road.
“We will continue to encourage and facilitate that dialogue.”
An estimated 150 nationalist protesters demonstrated against the parade, which was criticised in the past when a band carried loyalist paramilitary regalia.
By Clare Weir
Saturday 28, June 2008
Emmett Shiels, the brave dad-to-be murdered by gunmen as he tried to protect his friends, was laid to rest amid emotional scenes in Derry today.
A priest told the huge crowd of mourners that Emmett’s death could prove a “turning point” for the community in the rejection of violence.
Father Michael Canny added that the shooting in the early hours of Tuesday was “an act of utter madness” and that such violence was “a cancer in society” which must be removed.
The 22-year-old pizza delivery driver was laid to rest in the City Cemetery following an emotional service at St Eugene’s Cathedral.
Several of his friends wore Celtic football shirts with his name and age printed on the back.
Fr Canny told mourners: “The brutal murder of Emmett means that a young life with hope and much potential has been cut short before reaching maturity.
“It also means that his adoptive parents, Patsy and Teresa Moore, are heartbroken, the lives of his natural family and adoptive brothers and sisters are shattered.
“His partner is left without her companion of a number of years and a son soon to be born will never know or see his father.
“An act of utter madness has shattered the lives of many and for the family, partner and friends of Emmett, life will never be the same again.”
“Emmett’s death has caused many in our community to speak of their revulsion. Others spoke of how they felt sickened. Others again spoke of how as a community we had come to “a fork in the road” moment. A pivotal moment.
“Violence is like a cancer in society. Unwittingly we can provide fertile soil in which it can grow.
“A cancerous growth can and does kill if it is not checked and treated at an early stage. Bringing it under control will involve all of us making a choice for life.
“We can choose the direction that leads to peace or the direction that leads to destruction.”
“Today is a day for the family and friends to grieve and mourn but as we go from here as individuals and as a community we must reflect on the choices available and decisions which need to be taken if the death of Emmett is to be a genuine ‘fork in the road’ moment that we have seized.
“To go from here and do nothing will be equivalent to sleepwalking into the future.”
Mourners included the dead man’s foster parents Patsy and Teresa Moore, his brothers and sisters and his pregnant partner Trina Bradley.
There have been suspicions of paramilitary connections to the murder. The INLA has denied involvement, but local people have suggested that people close to the organisation were involved. The INLA’s ‘political wing’ the IRSP has met a brother of Mr Shiels to discuss the murder.
Meanwhile, police have been given more time to question a teenager in connection with the murder – as officers distributed leafters and posters asking for more information about the killing.
A court has granted an extension to allow the 19-year-old to be interviewed until Saturday night.
Another man who presented himself to Strand Road police station has been released without charge.
It is understood Mr Shiels was caught up in a melee after friends of his were targeted in an earlier incident.
Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call police on 7136 7337.
Information can also be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.