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Thursday 18 April 2019

Threat made to hold IRA man's body for week over funeral restrictions

Martin McGuinness pictured in Derry in 1985
Martin McGuinness pictured in Derry in 1985

Ed Carty

Martin McGuinness threatened to hold a dead IRA man's body for a week amid tensions over paramilitary shows of strength at funerals, State papers have revealed.

He personally delivered the chilling message to Bishop Cahal Daly's secretary as a stand-off ensued over the burial of Larry Marley in Belfast in April 1987.

Marley, the mastermind of the 1983 Maze escape, was shot dead by the UVF in front of his wife and newborn son at their home in Ardoyne.

His funeral was delayed for three days and there were two failed attempts to bury him as a heavily armed police cordon stepped in each time. Documents released from the Department of Foreign Affairs reveal Mr McGuinness issued the warning to the bishop's emissary, Fr Hugh Starkey.

He said the Sinn Féin chief told Cahal Daly's secretary: "We have the body and will keep it for a week, if necessary, until the Bishop speaks."

The papers claimed Mr McGuinness was smarting over comments made by Bishop of Derry Edward Daly about restricting IRA funerals.

Irish Independent

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