Thousands of mourners attend Joe Cahill funeral

27/07/2004 - 10:40:22

Thousands of mourners are attending the funeral of former IRA chief-of-staff Joe Cahill in Belfast this morning.

The 84-year-old veteran republican died of asbestosis on Friday.

His funeral is expected to the largest in Belfast since the remains of IRA man Tom Williams were reburied at Milltown Cemetery four years ago. Williams and Cahill were both sentenced to hang in 1942, but Cahill escaped the noose and went on become a leading advocate of armed struggle against the British in the North.

Cahill was interned during the IRA border campaign in the 1950s and 60s.

He was a founder of the Provisional IRA in the early 1970s and was arrested in 1973 on board a ship running guns from Libya.

Cahill was also involved in secret talks with the British at this time before going on to become a leading Sinn Féin activist and supporter of the peace process.

He was highly regarded throughout the republican movement and appeared alongside Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness during some of the most important announcements of the peace process, including the IRA ceasefires and acts of decommissioning.

He is due to be buried in Milltown Cemetery this afternoon.

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