Death of Martin Meehan

Veteran republican Martin Meehan has died, aged 62. It is believed he suffered a heart attack at home in Belfast on Saturday morning.

The Sinn Féin leadership, which is meeting in Dublin today, has extended condolences to the Meehan family following his sudden death.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams described Martin as an exemplary republican and said he would mourned by all who knew him.

“It was with deep shock and sadness that I heard of the sudden death of Martin Meehan,” said Mr Adams.

“I want extend my sincere condolences and those of republicans everywhere to Briege and the entire Meehan family.

“Martin Meehan was a lifelong republican who dedicated his life to the struggle for Irish freedom. Martin served the republican struggle as a dedicated IRA Volunteer, political activist and elected representative.

“Martin and his family paid a heavy price for his republicanism having been interned without trial, served long prison sentences and long periods away from his family because of his activism.

“Martin Meehan was the exemplary republican and will be mourned by all who knew him. I measc laochra na nGael a raibh se.”

After joining the IRA in 1966, Mr Meehan became a leader in the IRA in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast during the conflict.

In the weeks that followed the introduction of internment without trial in 1971, Mr Meehan was said to be top of a British list of wanted IRA fighters in Belfast.

He was eventually detained in Crumlin Road prison, but escaped with two other Volunteers in 1971 by hiding in a manhole for six and a half hours.

Mr Meehan was eventually released in January 1994. A strong supporter of the peace process, Mr Meehan later became a prominent political figure and a Sinn Féin councillor for Antrim.

Junior Minister Gerry Kelly commenting on the sad news said “republicans everywhere would be saddened by this shocking news.

“Martin was a republican legend, particularly in Belfast. He will be sadly missed by all of his comrades in Belfast and beyond. On their behalf I extend heartfelt condolences to Briege and the Meehan family.”

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