The uncle of prominent Co. Derry republican Declan McGlinchey has hit back at concerns raised about paramilitary trappings at the 39-year-old’s funeral on Wednesday.
Hundreds gathered in Bellaghy for the funeral of Declan McGlinchey, who died suddenly of a suspected heart attack on Sunday night.
Declan’s father Dominic McGlinchey was a high profile member of the INLA who was murdered in 1994.
His mother Mary was also murdered, being shot dead in 1987 as she bathed her two sons in their Dundalk home.
Mourners lined the Main Street on Wednesday as the funeral procession made its way towards St Mary’s Church for 11am Requiem Mass.
A black beret and gloves lay on top of his coffin, draped in a starry plough flag and tricolour.
The man is dead and he can’t even rest in peace, just like his mother and father.Sean McGlinchey
Unionists complained of a paramilitary display at the funeral.
“The recent report into paramilitary activity stated that the INLA not only remains in existence but is attempting to recruit new members,” said TUV councillor Stephen Cooper.
However Declan’s McGlinchey’s uncle, Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey hit back at those claims.
“The guard of honour with people wearing balaclavas was nowhere near the church, nowhere near the young Wolfe Tone GAA players or the school pupils, and I want to make that clear,” Colr. McGlinchey told the ‘Journal’.
“For unionists, this is just them playing politics. The man is dead and he can’t even rest in peace, just like his mother and father. My nephew worked tirelessly with the young people involved in the GAA, and with people in the Outreach Centre in Bellaghy. He was committed to helping people and he found peace with himself doing that.”
Colr. McGlinchey added: “I want to make this clear - there were no shots fired during the wake or the funeral of Declan McGlinchey in Bellaghy. If people are saying there were, they need to check with the PSNI and let them investigate. Declan’s funeral was very dignified and the people of Bellaghy will agree with that.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police said they have not received any complaints or are aware of incidents during the funeral, however, if any criminal offences are detected, these will be pursued by police.”
Fr Andrew Dolan told mourners the community was in “shock and disbelief” at Mr McGlinchey’s sudden death.
Declan McGlinchey is survived by his wife, Brenda and seven children aged between 19 and one-and-a-half.