Commissioner defends handling of Ryan funeral

Thu, Nov 22, 2012, 00:00

Any Garda intervention at the funeral of murdered Real IRA member Alan Ryan would only have been possible by force and would have risked the public’s safety and handed the republican group “the high moral victory,” Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has told the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.

He said the decision of senior gardaí on the scene to stand back, when a masked colour guard dressed in military clothing appeared and when shots were fired over the coffin, was the right one. Responding to questioning from Seán Kenny TD (Lab), Mr Callinan rejected the suggestion that the scenes at the funeral in Donaghmede, Dublin, in September “looked like nobody was in charge”.

“We were very much prepared in advance to deal with any eventuality that came our way,” he said.

There was also a major investigation into the Real IRA funeral trappings, with 21 arrests so far and a number of people already charged. Gardaí were also continuing a major drive against paramilitary crime.