Peter butterly murder, real ira, the ira, dissident republicans, shamrock rovers, eddie mcgrath
Shamrock Rovers concern: A dissident gunman who was arrested following the murder of RIRA chief Peter Butterly in Meath is the current manager of Shamrock Rovers U-18s team. Eddie McGrath (31) was one of five men arrested in the car park of the Huntsman Inn, Gormanstown, Co. Meath, minutes after Butterly was gunned down in cold blood.
On Friday, dad-of-three Butterly - a former RIRA leader in Louth - was buried in a low-key ceremony without any paramilitary trappings. Butterly had recently been expelled from the dissident organisation by the Northern-based leadership for allegedly pocketing RIRA funds. It is alleged that Alan Ryan’s Real IRA gang in Dublin had failed to hand over up to 200K to the newly named IRA.
Last Saturday, Tallaght man McGrath was charged with the unlawful possession of a 9mm calibre Beretta handgun and ammunition. The suspected dissident was also charged with membership of an illegal organisation styling itself on the IRA. McGrath's arrest has sent shock waves through Shamrock Rovers, where he is on the coaching staff.
In 2005, he was a member of the fans' '400 club', who rescued Rovers from financial ruin by buying the soccer club. The photograph shows McGrath, from Land Dale Lawns in Tallaght, coaching a Shamrock Rovers team. McGrath remains a member of the club, is currently employed as the manager of club's U-18 squad and has previously been involved in coaching schoolboy teams.
A source said McGrath's arrest has "stunned" Shamrock Rovers, who did not know the coach was involved with dissidents. "He was a big supporter of Celtic and liked singing rebels songs but that's it," said a source.
"Eddie has been a dedicated member of the club for a long number of years."
On Thursday, McGrath was one of three Dublin men remanded in custody for an extra week in connection with the Butterly shooting. Both David Cullen, from Brackenwood Ave in Balbriggan, and Dean Evans (22), from Grange Park Rise, Raheny, were also brought before the Special Criminal Court. The three men had been charged in connection with the shooting at a special sitting of the non-jury court last Saturday night.
Evans and McGrath were each charged with the unlawful possession of a 9mm-calibre Beretta semi-automatic pistol and seven rounds of ammunition with intent to endanger life. They were also each charged with membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the IRA on March 6. Cullen was charged with the unlawful possession of a 9mm-calibre Beretta semi-automatic pistol.
A Spokesperson for Shamrock Rovers said anyone working with the club has to undergo rigorous garda vetting. "Shamrock Rovers has over 400 members. However, most have no involvement in the running of the football club apart from attending AGMs and contributing their monthly membership fee. Along with that, we have 3,000 season ticket holders.
"Shamrock Rovers also has over 100 volunteers who help the club in a number of different ways, from our schoolboy section, to match-day activities, to selling tickets. Those volunteering in our schoolboy section are Garda-vetted for the protection of the young people they work with."
However, Garda vetting is only related to actual convictions, 96% of persons who abuse children are never convicted, and someone with a terrorist conviction would not be banned from working with children.
Butterly (35) - a former commander for the RIRA in Co. Louth - was blasted in the chest and head in the pub's car park last Wednesday. The Gardai's elite Emergency Response Unit (ERU) arrived at the scene within minutes and arrested five men in a number of cars at the scene. It is believed that Gardai had the suspected dissidents under surveillance and had been monitoring the meeting between the group and Butterly.
However, they had no advance knowledge of a shooting. Butterly's murder is just the latest shooting in a bitter internal battle for control of the so-called new IRA.
On Saturday 16/3/2013, Butterly was laid to rest following a dignified funeral mass in his home parish in Co Louth. Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay tribute to the dad-of-three at his funeral mass Saint Colmcille's Church,Togher. His body was carried into the church in a coffin which had not been draped in the Tricolour - in stark contrast to the practice at most dissident republican funerals.
During the service, one of his daughters fought back tears and was comforted by Butterly's wife Eithne. Butterly is survived by his wife, his parents, Vera and Matt, and children Aoife, Ciara and Matthew. Unlike Alan Ryan's funeral last year, there was no visible sign yesterday of any paramilitary display at the funeral.