Sinn Fein announce death of ‘lifelong and very deeply committed Irish Republican’ Bobby Storey
The former Sinn Fein chairman was aged in his mid 60s and had been unwell for a period of time.
Storey spent more than 20 years in prison during the Troubles.
He was sentenced to 18 years for possession of a rifle in 1981 and also spent several periods behind bars remanded on other charges.
As a teenager, he had been interned without charge.
In 1983 he was involved in a mass escape by republican prisoners from the Maze paramilitary prison near Lisburn.
In 2005, then Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside used parliamentary privilege to claim that Storey was the IRA’s head of intelligence.
Two years ago his house was targeted in an attack Sinn Fein blamed on dissident republicans.
Three years earlier, police investigating the murder of former IRA member Kevin McGuigan in Belfast arrested Storey.
He was subsequently released without charge.
In a press conference after his release he compared the IRA to a caterpillar, insisting the organisation had become a “butterfly” and had “flew away”.
“The IRA has gone. The IRA has stood down, they have put their arms beyond use,” he said.
“They have left the stage, they are away and they’re not coming back.”
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has described him as a “champion of the peace process”.
“Bobby was extremely committed to the pursuit of a United Ireland with equality and social justice for all,” she said.
“He will be greatly missed.”
In a statement she said: “It was with deep sadness that I learned today of the death of Bobby Storey.
“Bobby was a lifelong and very deeply committed Irish Republican whose passing will be received with great sadness by republicans throughout Ireland.
“Bobby was involved in republican activism for over forty years and suffered great hardship for his selfless dedication to his republican ideals.
“Born in Belfast, into a deeply sectarian state, Bobby, from a very young age, was the target of harassment by the British Army and RUC and spent over 20 years in prison, much of it on remand.
“He was interned without trial at just seventeen years of age, by which time he had been repeatedly arrested, brutalised and assaulted by members of the British army.
“Bobby was in Long Kesh internment camp when it was burned down and when prisoners were subjected to brutal attacks by the British military.
“A participant in the 1983 escape of political prisoners from the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, he was captured soon afterwards and spent more years in jail.
“A champion of the peace process, following his release from prison, Bobby played a prominent role in the development of Sinn Féin, serving as Chairperson of Sinn Féin in Belfast and then Chairperson of the party’s Six County Cúige.
“Bobby was extremely committed to the pursuit of a United Ireland with equality and social justice for all. He will be greatly missed”.
She added: “Today we have lost a great Republican.
“His loss will be felt by all who had the privilege to call him their friend
“On behalf of Sinn Féin I wish to extend my condolences and deepest sympathies to Bobby’s much loved partner Teresa, their children and grandchildren, his brothers Seamus and Brian, sister Geraldine and their many friends and comrades across Ireland.
“Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann”.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill also expressed her sadness at Mr Storey’s passing.
In a statement she said: “It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we have learned of the passing away of our much valued and loved friend and comrade, Bobby Storey.
“Bobby Storey was a lifelong republican activist, former IRA prisoner and escapee and longstanding member of Sinn Féin who played a vital role in developing the peace and political process over the past two decades.
“He was a committed, selfless comrade whose contribution to the struggle for national liberation earned him the full respect of his generation.
“He was an enduring tower of strength and will be deeply missed by us all.
“On behalf of republicans everywhere I extend my sincere solidarity and condolences to his much loved partner Teresa, their children and grandchildren, his brothers Seamus and Brian, sister Geraldine, and their many friends and comrades throughout Ireland”.
She added: “The party will announce details on arrangements in due course”.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Irish and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.