Northern Ireland news

Shots fired in memory of Peter Rooney a 'glorification of terrorism', Arlene Foster says

Shots fired in west Belfast last week in tribute to IRA man Peter Rooney
Staff Reporter

SHOTS fired in memory of a man believed to have been the fourth member of an IRA unit sent to Gibraltar in 1988 on a bombing mission were a "glorification of terrorism", DUP leader Arlene Foster has said.

Veteran republican Peter 'Pepe' Rooney (63) was buried in a republican funeral on Wednesday of last week.

He died after a long battle with cancer.

Thousands of mourners attended his burial in Milltown cemetery in Belfast.

Despite having no role in organising the service, senior Sinn Féin members Bobby Storey, Gerry Kelly and Sean 'Spike' Murray were present.

Masked men were pictured firing a volley of shots in memory of Rooney.

The funeral procession of Peter 'Pepe' Rooney who is believed the fourth member of an IRA unit sent to Gibraltar in 1988 on a bombing mission

It is understood the display, thought to have taken place the night before the funeral, was organised by a group of independent former IRA members.

Police are investigating.

The shots were fired just a few weeks after journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead by dissident republicans in Derry.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said any "glorification of terrorism on our streets is wrong".

She added: "Politicians and the community came together to say no (to paramilitaries following Ms McKee's murder)."

"There should be the same unity against actions like this," she told the News Letter.

"Glorifying terror of the past only leads to confusion in the minds of the next generation... Terrorism should not be allowed any further breeding ground."

Rooney was convicted in 1981 after being arrested as part of a colour party which fired shots over the coffin of hunger striker Joe McDonnell in west Belfast.

He was also believed to be part of an IRA unit sent to Gibraltar on a bombing mission in 1988.

IRA members Mairead Farrell, Dan McCann and Sean Savage were shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar.

No bomb was ever discovered and all three were unarmed, leading to speculation that other members of the unit escaped.

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