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Named: Man arrested over 1987 INLA feud murders

Funeral of John O'Reilly and Thomas 'Ta' Power shot dead in Drogheda 30 -years ago, a 60-year-old man was arrested in Co Louth yesterday in connection with the double murder.

A man arrested over the murders of two men in an INLA feud 30 years ago has been released without charge.

Michael Weldon, originally from Dublin but who had been living in Amsterdam since the early 1990s was detained in Dublin yesterday over the deaths of Thomas Power, pictured, and John O’Reilly in the Rossnaree Hotel, Drogheda, on January 20 1987.

The arrest follows an appeal earlier this year by two of Mr Power’s sisters.

The men were shot dead after going to the hotel with the intention of trying to mediate in a bloody internal dispute in the INLA.

Mr Weldon was released after being taken in for questioning under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939.

A 60-year-old veteran republican has been arrested by Gardaí detectives in Co Louth in connection with the feud related killing of two men over 30-years-ago.

Thomas ‘Ta’ Power (33) and John O’Reilly (26) were gunned down as they drank tea in the Rossnaree Hotel, near Drogheda, in January 1987 by members of the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO).

Michael Weldon, originally from Dublin but who had been living in Amsterdam since the early 1990s, was arrested in Co Louth yesterday in connection with the double murder.

Known as Mick, Weldon was a former corporal in the Irish army. The Irish News understands he had been arrested at the time of the murders but released without charge and later left the country.

He was arrested during a trip to Ireland from his new home in the Netherlands.

The murder of the two men featured in an RTE reconstruction broadcast in March of this year, following a renewed appeal for information from the family of Mr Power, who was the INLA chief of staff at the time of his death.

His murder came amid a bloody feud between the GHQ faction of the INLA and the IPLO, formed out of a split within the organisation the previous year.

The pair had gone to the hotel along with two other men, Peter Stewart and Hugh ‘Cueball’ Torney, for a summit to try and negotiate a truce when two gunmen wearing false beards burst into the hotel and opened fire.

Power had been previously jailed on the word of supergrass Harry Kirkpatrick but was released when the case collapsed.

Torney was later killed during another bloody feud in 1996.

John O'Reilly, who was also from the Market's area of south Belfast, had been involved in murder and disappearance of Seamus Ruddy in Paris two years prior to his own death.

Mr Ruddy's remains were recovered in a forest at Pont-de-l'Arche near Rouen in May of this year.

The IPLO was forcibly disbanded by the Provisional IRA in 1992.

Campaign group Relatives for Justice wrote to Irish justice minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan earlier this year asking for a review of the case on behalf of the family.

Following this the Power family met with gardai during which time the family learned for the first time that three men were questioned after the ambush but later released.

The Irish News understands that Weldon was one of those questioned at the time. One of the other men thought to have been involved and also questioned died in June of this year.

Gardaí in Drogheda confirmed a man in his 60s had been arrested in connection with the investigation.

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