Northern Ireland news

Republicans from across Ireland expected at Kevin McKenna's funeral

The funeral of former IRA leader Kevin McKenna will take place today. Picture taken from Monaghan Sinn Féin Facebook
Connla Young

REPUBLICANS from across Ireland are expected to attend the funeral of former Provisional IRA leader Kevin McKenna in Co Monaghan today.

Mr McKenna, who was in his 70s, died surrounded by his family at Cavan General Hospital early on Tuesday after a short illness.

Originally from Brantry, near Dungannon, he lived for many years in the Smithborough area of Co Monaghan, where he helped run a family pub.

He was a former 'chief of staff' of the IRA, a role he held when the organisation called its 1994 ceasefire.

It is believed he filled the position for an extended period from the early 1980s until the late 1990s.

He also held other leadership roles throughout the 1970s, including in his native county.

He is believed to have been IRA chief of staff when the organisation imported arms from Libya in the 1980s and is said to also have played a key role in the decommissioning process two decades later.

He was known to keep a low public profile and tended to avoid media attention.

In later years he remained a supporter of Sinn Féin's political strategy and senior party figures are expected to attend his funeral today.

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy last night said on Facebook that Mr McKenna “will be sadly missed by all who had the honour of knowing him”.

Requiem Mass will take place at 11am at St Mary’s Church in Magherarney, Smithborough.

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