Northern Ireland news

Police investigate after picture shows masked man appearing to fire shots in tribute to republican

Police are investigating after images were posted online of a masked man appearing to fire shots in tribute to west Belfast man Harry O'Hara. Picture from Belfast IRSP/Facebook
John Monaghan

POLICE are investigating after an image was posted online showing a masked man apparently firing shots in tribute to a republican in west Belfast.

Photographs posted on Facebook by the Irish Republican Socialist Party - the political wing of the INLA - show masked men posing on a street with a picture of Harry O'Hara.

Mr O'Hara, from Norglen Drive in the Turf Lodge area, died on February 28 and was buried in the City Cemetery earlier this month following Requiem Mass at Holy Trinity Church.

Among death notices expressing sympathy at Mr O'Hara's passing was one from "Connor Hughes, Cogús Republican Prisoners" in Maghaberry jail.

The IRSP's Belfast branch posted photos on Facebook of a "final salute to comrade Harry O'Hara".

It said: "Harry was a loyal republican socialist and he will always be remembered with honour and with pride by the Republican Socialist Movement."

The images show masked men dressed in paramilitary-style uniform posing beside candles and a photo of Mr O'Hara.

In one, a member of the group raises a gun above his head in a firing motion.

The images have been condemned by SDLP councillor Tim Attwood, who represents the area on Belfast City Council.

"These are scenes which belong in the past. There is no excuse for masked gunmen on the streets of our city, no matter what the context," he said.

"This was a reckless act and should be roundly condemned."

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "Police are aware of footage on social media showing shots apparently being fired by a masked man in west Belfast. An investigation is underway."

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