Northern Ireland news

Video: Former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney's funeral told his death 'such a tragedy'

Digital Staff

The funeral has been held in west Belfast of former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney.

The 57-year-old died by suicide in a shooting at the republican plot at Milltown cemetery last week.

A large crowd of men with their faces covered and wearing berets were part of the funeral procession to St Peter's Cathedral.

The coffin was draped in the starry plough flag and the tricolour.

During this morning's funeral, Fr Gary Donegan told mourners that McElkerney's death was "such a tragedy".

He said: "According to his family, the loss of many friends in the conflict, had a profound influence on Martin’s decision to get directly involved in what is euphemistically referred to as ‘the Troubles.’"

Martin McElkerney who died last week.

Fr Donegan told how McElkerney "had a good start in life" but said the family "were burnt out of their home in north Belfast early on in the Troubles."

McElkerney was jailed following the death of Kevin Valliday (11), Stephen Bennett (14) and Lance Bombardier Kevin Waller (20) in an INLA bomb at the Divis Flats complex in west Belfast in 1982.

The funeral has taken place in west Belfast of former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney  

He was sentenced to three life terms in 1987 and was among the first of the INLA prisoners to be released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

The funeral has taken place in west Belfast of Martin McElkerney 

On Monday shots were fired outside the wake house of McElkerney.

Six masked men emerged, with one man holding a picture of McElkerney and another man armed with an assault rifle.

The funeral has taken place in west Belfast of former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney

He fired two single shots, followed by a volley, into the air. It was greeted by cheers and applause from onlookers in Ross Street in the Divis area of west Belfast.

The PSNI later carried out a search of the area.

It has since emerged that a weapon used to fire some of the shots has previously featured in a BBC documentary.

The funeral has taken place in west Belfast of former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney  

The funeral has taken place in west Belfast of former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney  

The funeral has taken place in west Belfast of former INLA prisoner Martin McElkerney  

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