Belfast Telegraph

Adams tribute to ex-IRA chief

By Noel McAdam
27 July 2004

Gerry Adams today paid personal tribute at the graveside of former IRA chief of staff Joe Cahill - and said there would not be a peace process without him.

In a formal oration, the Sinn Fein President said Mr Cahill made no apologies for having been "a physical force republican" but was prepared to defend, support and promote other options when these were available.

"Without doubt there would not be a peace process today without Joe Cahill. And he had no illusions about the business of building peace.

"His big fear was that the governments would not respect the people's mandate. His concern was that the establishment, both Irish and British, would deny and not uphold citizen's rights and entitlements."

He concluded: "Comrades, we have lost a great republican and a true friend but his inspiration, his life, his vision of a new Ireland, a free Ireland, outlives him.

"A lot has changed in Joe Cahill's lifetime, not least because of his contribution.

"So let us go from here today recommitted in our resolve to continue our struggle and to carry on until that certain day."

The 84-year-old party vice-president, who died on Friday after a short illness, was laid to rest in a family grave rather than in the republican plot.

His final resting place is, however, located close to the new republican plot within the grounds of Milltown cemetery.

Thousands attended the funeral mass for Mr Cahill at St John's Church on the Falls Road, where the homily was given by Fr Des Wilson, in the largest republican funeral for several years.

Mourners were said to have come from across Ireland.

"Everyone has people staying with them. It is going to be a massive turnout," a Sinn Fein party worker said.

A formal republican guard of honour flanked the tricolour-draped coffin as it was taken into the cemetery after the church service.

He is survived by his wife, Annie, and seven children, Tom, Maria, Stephanie, Nuala, Patricia, Aine and Deidre.

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