Fourth arrest follows funeral of Kevin McGuigan

Father of nine was gunned down in a suspected feud between former IRA members

 

Violence and revenge do not solve problems, mourners at the funeral for murder victim Kevin McGuigan in Belfast were told on Tuesday.

Hundreds of people packed into St Matthew’s Church, close to the scene of last week’s shooting in the republican Short Strand area of east Belfast, for the requiem mass.

Father John Nevin said: “Violence does not solve problems. Violence, war and revenge does not solve problems but creates more. The circle goes on.”

Mr McGuigan, a 53-year-old father of nine, was gunned down in a suspected feud between former IRA members.

The ex-IRA prisoner was shot a number of times in front of his wife Dolores outside their home in Comber Court.

His funeral service was held hours after murder squad detectives arrested three men aged 41, 44 and 53.

Fourth arrest

After the service, detectives also arrested a fourth man. The 39-year-old suspect was detained in the Greater Belfast area and taken to the PSNI’s serious crime suite for questioning.

Three other men aged 53, 44 and 41 remain in police custody.

Detective Chief Inspector John McVea said weapons recovered during searches in Greater Belfast had been sent for forensic examination.

Earlier hundreds of mourners packed into St Matthews Church close to the scene of last week’s shooting in the republican Short Strand area of east Belfast for Mr McGuigan’s funeral mass.

Father John Nevin, who led the service, said: “Violence does not solve problems. Violence, war and revenge does not solve problems but creates more. The circle goes on.”

Last week, a man and a woman arrested as part of the overall investigation into the murder were released unconditionally.

Fr Nevin said the victim’s family had questioned why he was killed. “I have no answers for these tragedies that wreck families,” the priest added.

Among the mourners was Sinn Féin former lord mayor of Belfast Niall ODonnghaile, who is from the Short Strand district.

Widespread speculation

Mr McGuigan was suspected by some in the republican movement of involvement in the murder of former IRA leader Gerard “Jock” Davison in the nearby Markets area of Belfast three months ago. There has been widespread speculation his killing was a revenge attack by Mr Davison’s one-time associates in the IRA.

First Minister Peter Robinson has warned Sinn Féin it would face expulsion from the power-sharing Executive if the IRA was responsible.

Sinn Féin has rejected the suggestion of IRA involvement.

Mr McGuigan’s relatives have used social media to accuse the IRA of being involved in his death.

His daughter, Sarah Jane McGuigan, said on Facebook: “Even the dogs in the street no them scum IRA murdered my daddy a good man and a loyal republican there is no man could fill his boots and they no that.”

Her brother, Teddy McGuigan, endorsed the comment, adding: “Never seen truer words.”

There was a significant security presence in the area with officers deployed in armoured Land Rovers throughout the Short Strand and adjacent loyalist Lower Newtownards Road. A Police Service of Northern Ireland helicopter also hovered overhead.

At one point, loyalists attempted to heckle some of the mourners but police kept the two groups apart.

Afterwards Mr McGuigan’s widow Dolores helped carry the coffin out of the church. The cortege made its way past the scene of the crime and on to the City Cemetery in West Belfast for burial.