Sunday 25 August 2019

IRA was right to stand up and fight British rule, claims Adams at funeral of former military chief


Gerry Adams. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Gerry Adams. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has claimed the IRA was right to stand up and fight against British rule in Northern Ireland.

Mr Adams was speaking as he delivered the graveside oration at the funeral of former IRA chief of staff Kevin McKenna.

McKenna was a leading figure in the IRA from the 1970s to mid 1990s and died in Cavan General Hospital on his 74th birthday on Tuesday following a short illness.

His funeral was held at St Mary's Church near his Co Monaghan home yesterday.

At the graveside Mr Adams gave a lengthy speech in which he paid tribute to McKenna as a "decent man doing his best in very difficult times".

Men and women dressed in black trousers, white shirts and black ties formed a guard of honour as his coffin entered the church. McKenna's coffin was draped in a tricolour with a black beret and black leather gloves sitting atop it.

The 'Belfast Telegraph' reported that a number of high-profile Sinn Féin politicians were in attendance at the funeral including current president Mary Lou McDonald, deputy leader Michelle O'Neill, MEP Martina Anderson and MP Michelle Gildernew.

Martin McGuinness's widow Bernie and son Fiachra were also in attendance.

Mr Adams told those gathered at the graveside that republican people in Northern Ireland "never went to war - the war came to us," he said.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section