15 arrested at paramilitary funeral of latest Dublin gangland victim
Fifteen men were arrested at the funeral of a dissident Republican shot dead in Dublin as part of an ongoing bloody gangland war.
Michael Barr (35) was gunned down in the Sunset House in inner-city Dublin last Monday night week in a killing linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud. The dissident's funeral took place yesterday morning amid a strong republican display.
The funeral cortege was flanked by dozens in paramilitary uniform with berets and sunglasses as it made its way to the mass which was held at St Mary's Church, Melmount in Strabane.
A tricolour was also draped over Barr's coffin. It is believed the Co Tyrone native was gunned down by members of the Kinahan cartel, after they suspected he supplied weapons used in the Regency Hotel shooting in February.
A close associate of Barr is suspected of being the flatcap-wearing gunman who was one of the shooters.
Members of the PSNI did not intervene during the funeral service, but later 15 men were arrested under the Terrorism Act.
Speaking at a press conference following the service, Superintendent Mark McEwan, District Commander, described the funeral as a "paramilitary-style display".
"We have had some public commentary that the deceased was allegedly a member of the violent dissident republican grouping known as the New IRA and that the funeral would take place in line with that.
"What we saw on the streets of Strabane was to all intents and purposes a paramilitary-style display and as a result of that the policing operation have arrested 15 men in connection with suspected terrorist-related offensives.
"Every police operation has to be developed and policed in the context of the wider community impact," he said.
"Where we suspect a criminal offence has taken place we will move to act, the public would expect us to act.
"Sometimes it is more appropriate that we take an evidence gathering approach and seek to follow that up with arrests and potential prosecutions at a later date, but in the situation that presented itself, it was appropriate, necessary and proportionate that we would take those steps, so subsequently 15 men were arrested," he added.