Pals’ tribute to RIRA leader Alan Ryan

Supporters at the march yesterday in Dublin
Supporters at the march yesterday in Dublin

SUPPORTERS of murdered Real IRA figure Alan Ryan held a republican march amid a heavy garda presence in Dublin yesterday to mark three years since his death.

Over 100 supporters and re­publican bands took part in the march from Donaghmede Church to Balgriffin cemetery, where Ryan is buried.

It is the third year in a row republi­cans have held the march.

The march was led by a group dressed in military-style clothing.

Ryan’s brothers Anthony, Vinnie, Dermot and Eoin were among those attending the march. Other members of Ryan’s inner circle, including Dean Evans and Derek Nolan, were also in attendance.

Evans is currently out on bail awaiting trial for the murder of former Real IRA member Peter Butterly, who was shot dead in Meath in March 2013.

Derry man Tony O’Hara, brother of INLA hunger striker, Patsy O’Hara, gave a speech where he compared Ryan to Padraig Pearse, James Connolly and Bobby Sands.

Francie Mackey of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM), the political wing of the Real IRA, de­scribed Alan’s killer as the “lowest form of human being”.

He also lashed out at the media, who he accused of lauding Ryan’s death, including “one home-grown journalist who seemed to have a particular hatred of Alan Ryan”. He went on to de­scribe Ryan as a “victim of his own exuberance” and a “brave son of Erin”.

The event passed off peacefully and there was a large garda presence.

Two years ago two suspect explosive devices were found near Ryan’s grave days after that year’s com­memoration. Thugs spray painted “rat scum” on his grave the same year.

One of Ryan’s pals, James McDonagh, who attended yesterday’s event, laid a wreath at the scene of Ryan’s murder at 3.10pm on Thursday – the exact time Ryan was shot three years ago.

This week the 32CSM released a statement saying Alan was shot in a “cowardly ambush by a hired gunman”.

The group added: “Those responsible for his murder are a part of a drugs culture which Alan had brought to the brink of destruction.”

However, the reality is that while feuds between Ryan’s gang and drugs gangs certainly caused problems, they did little to affect the drug market in Ireland, which was worth €600m at the time of his death in 2012.

Ryan’s brother Eoin, who has no in­volvement in dissident activity, said the day of the murder was “the worst most painful day of my life”.

Ryan was shot dead in Clongriffin, north Dublin, on September 3, 2012. No-one has been charged with his death, but it is believed a number of criminal fig­ures, including the northside drug dealer ‘Mr Big’, hired a hitman to kill Ryan.

It is believed the killer travelled to the U.K. after carrying out the assassination.

Tensions remain high between mem­bers of Mr Big’s gang and associates of Ryan.