Northern Ireland news

Mourners at funeral of anti-plastic bullet campaigner Jim McCabe hear how he 'reached out in life and helped other people'

Jim and Paul McCabe are comforted at the funeral of their father Jim outside St Paul's Church in west Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Suzanne McGonagle

MOURNERS at the funeral of an anti-plastic bullet campaigner have heard how he "reached out in life and helped other people".

Family and friends of Jim McCabe gathered at St Paul's Church in Belfast for his Requiem Mass where he was described as a "true confidante for so many people".

The west Belfast man, whose wife Norah was killed by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC in July 1981, died on Saturday.

Mr McCabe spent most of his life campaigning tirelessly to end the use of plastic bullets and was one of the founders in 1985 of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets. He was also a founding member of Relatives for Justice.

Parish priest Fr Anthony Devlin told mourners of the responsibility that Mr McCabe, a father-of-three, had "after Norah was so tragically and terribly murdered".

"Norah's death was a massive impact on his life," he said.

"I know this Mass is for Jim, but it is really for the two of them," he said.

He added that Mr McCabe "truly and completely loved" his wife Norah and "they really loved each other so very much".

The 33-year-old was killed as she returned from the shops and died just 15 weeks after she had given birth to her third child. The RUC had claimed there was rioting in the area at the time following the death of IRA hunger striker Joe McDonnell.

However, a Canadian television crew captured the killing on camera, confirming first reports by The Irish News that the street was quiet at the time and there were no disturbances.

No-one has ever been charged in connection with her death.

Fr Devlin said Mr McCabe used his "own pain" following his wife's death to help others, telling mourners that he "loved people, he loved being around people".

He said that "when we look back on his life" he was always "helping other relatives for justice".

"He knew his own pain and when he sat down with others, he knew their pain," he said.

"He really understood the pain of others. He reached out in life and helped other people. He was a true confidante for so many people...he was a voice of reason."

The priest added that what was most important to Mr McCabe was "his love and pride for his family".

Following the service, Mr McCabe was laid to rest at the City Cemetery. He is survived by his children Paul, Jim and Aine and wider family circle.

Northern Ireland news