Two freed in Ryan funeral inquiry

Fri, Sep 14, 2012, 01:00

Gardaí investigating the firing of a volley of shots at the funeral of Real IRA member Alan Ryan last weekend have released two men from custody.

A total of 17 people were held yesterday in Garda raids across Leinster against dissident republicans as part of the investigation. Fifteen people - 14 men and one woman - remain in custody.

Codenamed Operation Ambience, the Garda operation is aimed at identifying and charging those who fired shots over Ryan’s coffin before it left the family home at Grange Abbey Drive, Donaghmede, for the funeral last Saturday.

They also hope to identify a number of mourners at the funeral who wore full paramilitary gear.

Ryan (32) was head of a Real IRA faction in Dublin and has been linked to extortion rackets. He was murdered in broad daylight when a gunman shot him several times in the grounds of an apartment complex in Clongriffin, north Dublin, on Monday, September 3rd.

Gardaí believe he may have been targeted by a criminal gang which he had come into conflict with.

The show of strength by the Real IRA at the funeral was condemned as “reprehensible” by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter who also said some events surrounding the funeral were “absolutely unacceptable”.

Well-known republican Colin Duffy, who was acquitted of murdering two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim in March 2009, gave the graveside oration. Slogans in memory of Ryan have been painted on walls near his home while black flags were hung on lampposts in the Donaghmede area.

Ryan's family released a statement earlier this week in which it said the funeral was “a fitting tribute to the best ideals of republicanism”. The family has also lodged a formal complaint to the Garda Commissioner and to media organisations that published pictures of Ryan as he lay on the ground at the scene of the shooting.

Items including three imitation firearms, mobile phones, laptop computers, memory sticks and documents were seized in yesterday's Garda sweep.

Speaking yesterday, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD said “groups involved in gangsterism and crime masquerading as the IRA” had no place in Irish society.The 32 County Sovereignty Movement condemned yesterday's arrests, saying people who were close to Ryan and grieving had been detained. It said the Garda investigation into the 32-year-old’s murder was progressing with less urgency.

One person has been arrested to-date in connection with the Garda investigation into Ryan's murder.