Funeral held for former Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt in Co Louth

Funeral held for former Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt in Co Louth

A FUNERAL service has been held for former Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt. 

One of four men found liable for the Omagh bombing that left 29 people dead, including a pregnant woman and her two unborn children, the dissident republican died on Saturday after losing his battle with terminal cancer. 

McKevitt spent 13 years in prison for directing terrorism and membership of an illegal organisation. He was released in 2016. 

The funeral service took place at St Fursey's Church in Haggardstown. 

Under the current government restrictions, only 10 mourners were permitted to attend the church service. 

However, a small crowd also gathered outside McKevitt’s home in Blackrock, Co Louth, with as many as 50 mourners also opting to walk behind the hearse as it made its way to the church. 

A heavy security presence was visible throughout the day with checkpoints set up across the town and Gardai visible on the route from the former Real IRA chief’s home to the church. 

Though his coffin was draped in an Irish flag, there were no references to his paramilitary past during the service. 

Seamus Daly, another of the four men found liable for the 1998 Omagh bombing, was present at the funeral. 

A father of six, including a daughter Karen who passed away, the 71-year-old is survived by his wife Bernadette Sands McKevitt, a sister of   Bobby Sands as well as his two sons Stephen and Michael and three other daughters Carol, Roisin and Blathnaid. 

According to one death notice, McKevitt died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. 

The notice describes him as a "devoted" and "dearest" father, brother and grandfather who will be "sadly missed and remembered with love" by his friends and family. 

McKevitt has always denied his involvement in the Omagh bombing, however, a 2009 civil trial saw him named as liable alongside Daly, Liam Campbell and Colm Murphy. 

Though McKevitt was ordered to pay £1.6 million damages to 12 relatives who took the case, they never received a penny of the money awarded.