Funeral of father-of-nine Kevin McGuigan gunned down in suspected IRA feud takes place
The funeral of Short Strand shooting victim has been held
There was a heavy police presence today at the funeral of Short Strand shooting victim Kevin McGuigan, where mourners were told that violence and revenge do not solve problems - but create more.
Hundreds of people packed into St Matthews Church, close to the scene of last week's killing in the republican area of east Belfast, for the requiem mass.
While police investigating the murder searched a house in Lagmore, Dunmurry, following the arrests of three men in Greater Belfast, Father John Nevin told the funeral: "Violence does not solve problems. Violence, war and revenge does not solve problems but creates more. The circle goes on."
Mr McGuigan, a 53-year-old father of nine, was gunned down in a suspected feud between former IRA members.
The ex-republican prisoner was hit a number of times at point-blank range in front of his wife Dolores outside their home in Comber Court.
Fr Nevin said the victim's family had questioned why he was killed.
"I have no answers for these tragedies that wreck families," the priest added.
Among the mourners was Sinn Fein former lord mayor of Belfast Niall ODonnghaile, who is from the Short Strand district.
Earlier, crowds gathered outside the family home sang, clapped and cheered as the coffin was carried out. Young GAA players formed a guard of honour.
Floral wreaths left at the scene read "Big Kev", "husband" and "son".
Police officers were deployed in armoured Land Rovers throughout the Short Strand and adjacent loyalist Lower Newtownards Road. The PSNI helicopter also hovered overhead.
At one point loyalists attempted to heckle some of the mourners but police kept the two groups apart.
Afterwards Mr McGuigan's widow Dolores helped carry the coffin out of the church.
The cortege made its way back past the scene of the crime and on to the City Cemetery in West Belfast for burial.
Mr McGuigan was suspected by some in the republican movement of involvement in the murder of former IRA leader Gerard "Jock" Davison in the nearby Markets area of Belfast three months ago.
There has been widespread speculation his killing was a revenge attack by Mr Davison's one-time associates in the IRA which, if proven, could have major implications for the Northern Ireland peace process.
Stormont's First Minister Peter Robinson has warned Sinn Fein it would face expulsion from the power-sharing Executive if the IRA was responsible.
Mr McGuigan's relatives have used social media to accuse the IRA.
His daughter, Sarah Jane McGuigan, said on Facebook: "Even the dogs in the street no them scum IRA murdered my daddy a good man and a loyal republican there is no man could fill his boots and they no that."
Her brother, Teddy McGuigan, endorsed the comment, adding: "Never seen truer words."
Sinn Fein has rejected the suggestion of IRA involvement.
Three men were arrested by detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder on Tuesday morning.
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea said: "The men, aged 53, 44 and 41 were arrested at various locations in the greater Belfast area this morning.
"All three have now been taken to the Serious Crime Suite for questioning."
Two firearms have been recovered by detectives investigating the murder during searches carried out in the Greater Belfast area on Tuesday August 18.
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea said: “The firearms have been sent for forensic examination as part of the overall investigation.
"In addition, a 39 year old man has been arrested in the Greater Belfast area. He has been taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning.”