Shots fired over the coffin of Peggy O’Hara

The coffin of Peggy O'Hara flanked by four masked women at William Street in Derry.
The coffin of Peggy O'Hara flanked by four masked women at William Street in Derry.

The INLA last night fired shots over the coffin of Peggy O’Hara mother of Derry INLA man Patsy O’Hara who died on hunger strike in Long Kesh in 1981.

A volley of shots were fired outside her home as he remains returned there. Three masked gunmen dressed in dark anoraks lined up in front of the coffin. Two of the men had handguns and the other a rifle. Three shots were discharged from the rifle. After this the three men knelt in front of the remains before moving off to the applause of those watching.

The remains of Peggy O’Hara, were returned home following a post mortem examination after her sudden death at the age of 86 in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mrs O’Hara’s remains were released from Bradley and McLaughlin Funeral Directors in William Street shortly after 6pm last night. Before the remains were released to be brought home by her family members an Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) guard of honour gathered at the party’s office, Connolly House in Chamberlain Street.

A crowd of several dozen onlookers gathered to watch the remains being released. One police vehicle travelled through the area around 15 minutes before the cortege departed but other than that there was no police presence.

As Mrs O’Hara’s remains began to emerge from the funeral home the IRSP honour guard, numbering around two dozen and dressed in white shirts, black ties and black trousers formed two lines in William Street.

As the coffin was placed on two stands behind the hearse, four masked INLA women dressed in black berets, and sun glasses emerged from an alleyway adjacent to the undertakers office.

An INLA man, also masked and wearing sunglasses gave marching orders in Gaelic and the four women lined up, two on either side of the coffin which was draped in the tricolour with the Starry Plough placed over the top of it. As grieving relatives looked, the coffin was then placed in the hearse.

The hearse then pulled out into William Street with one of the INLA women at each corner of the vehicle. As the hearse pulled into the street, the IRSP honour guard and family members followed the cortege as it began its journey to Mrs O’Hara’s home in Templegrove Park.

Peggy O’Hara’s funeral Mass will take place on Saturday morning, July 18 at 10am at St Columba’s, Long Tower. Interment will take place at the City Cemetery afterwards.