No funeral mass as Republican Belfast buries atheist IRA chief
Republican south Belfast came to a halt yesterday for the funeral of murdered IRA man Gerard 'Jock' Davison, from his Market area birthplace near Belfast city centre.
There were fears of clashes with loyalists taking part in a large UVF memorial parade but with a heavy police presence no trouble developed.
Davison's cortege was delayed leaving his home by up to two hours and was followed by family and friends and hundreds of republicans, including local Official Sinn Fein veterans among the crowd.
Leading republican figures including Sean 'Spike' Murray and Bobby Storey helped to carry Davison's coffin.
The cortege was led by a lone piper with his remains draped with an Irish tricolour and a black beret and gloves as it headed to Belfast's Milltown cemetery, without requiem mass, owing to Davison's atheist beliefs.
Davison is the most senior pro-peace republican murdered since the IRA's 1997 ceasefires and had been warned by police his life was under threat.
Three men, aged 27, 38 and 41, were arrested and questioned in relation to Davison's murder, but were subsequently released without charge.
Police have ruled out dissident republicans or loyalists as suspects, instead pointing the finger at criminals with grudges against Davison.
Among the suspects is an associate of a local man, Sammy Ward, who was allegedly gunned down on Davison's orders.
Despite many positive eulogies, mostly from Sinn Fein figures, Davison had a reputation as a notorious IRA figure.
Local sources have told the Sunday Independent, the killer directly addressed Davison and exchanged words with him before shooting him in the back and then leaning over his prone body to fire again.
Davison is widely believed to have ordered the murder of Robert McCartney in 2005.
He later faced accusations of being a police agent, but Davison vehemently denied the allegations.