Dissident's funeral passes off quietly after family plea
THE funeral of a dissident republican murder victim passed off without incident after his family asked that there be no paramilitary trapping or display at the burial.
Peter Butterly (35), from Cortown, Dunleer, Co Louth, was shot dead in the car park of the Hunstman Inn at Gormanstown, Co Meath, on March 6. The father of three, who was the former head of the Real IRA in the Louth area, was lured to his death after receiving a phone call to meet some of his former associates.
At the weekend, around 300 people packed into St Colmcille's church in Togher for his funeral Mass. There were just two wreaths on the coffin and the family had let it be known that they did not want any paramilitary trapping or display at the burial. The mourners were led by the dead man's wife Eithne, daughters Aoife and Ciara, son Matthew, parents Matt and Vera and sisters Mary and Barbara.
A number of garda cars patrolled roads in the area before and during the funeral, while some officers noted the registration numbers of the cars of those attending the ceremonies.
In his homily, Fr Tom Daly said that Mr Butterly's sudden and violent death had been very traumatic for the whole community but most of all for the Butterly family.
"We sometimes hear of violent deaths in other parts of the country when it's just another headline, but when it comes in your own community and where you know the person involved, that's when the real impact of such a death strikes home," he said.
Fr Daly urged the local community to continue their support for the bereaved family.
He said that while the dead man's journey had come to an end, his family now faced into a very difficult journey.
"He leaves behind a family which is heartbroken and burdened with many questions to which we have no answer," he told the mourners.
Following the Mass, the cortege made its way to Clonmore cemetery where Mr Butterly was laid to rest. A number of gardai observed proceedings at a discreet distance.
Mr Butterly's killing has been blamed on an internal republican feud. Five people were arrested shortly after the shooting. Three remain in custody after appearing before the Special Criminal Court on arms charges and accused of being members of an illegal organisation.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has yet to decide if charges will be brought against the other two men, who were released after questioning.