Irish Republican News · January 17, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Adams attends funeral of David Ervine

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was among the political leaders who attended the funeral of the former unionist paramilitary and political negotiator, David Ervine.

More than a thousand mourners paid tribute to Mr Ervine at the memorial service at the weekend.

Nationalist and unionist politicians and representatives from the British and Irish governments were also present.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and former lord mayor Alex Maskey attended. Mr Adams’s presence and that of other nationalists, including former Sinn Féin Moyor Alex Maskey was publicly welcomed by the Ervine family, to warm applause from the congregation. Mr Adams was later embraced by Mr Ervine’s widow outside the church.

Senior unionist paramilitary figures who attended included Gusty Spence and Billy Hutchinson from the UVF and Jackie McDonald and Gary McMichael from the UDA, as well as PSNI Chief Hugh Orde.

Last August, Ervine warned that Plan B, an alternative planned by the two governments if no agreement is reached, could lead to a return of UVF violence.

But there have been reports that before his death, David Ervine helped to draft a statement of intent by the UVF to decommission its weapons and to end its operations -- if there is agreement on power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Speaking prior to the funeral, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said his death would be “a huge loss to political life” in Ireland.

“We think he made an immense contribution coming from the community that he came from to be part of the negotiations to the Good Friday Agreement.

“We always felt very privileged and honoured to work with him in pursuit of the implementation of the Agreement because we knew we had the overwhelming support of the people of this island. We are all very conscious of his very many contributions.”

Former US Senator George Mitchell - who was in charge of the talks which led to the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement said: “He had seen the worst and he wanted the best for the future.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News