A memorial march to mark the anniversary of the murder of Dublin ‘Real IRA’ commander Alan Ryan passed off with dignity this week despite provocative actions by the Garda police and by the criminal gang which killed him.
Ryan was shot dead in Clongriffin on September 3 last year by a powerful drugs gang who head repeatedly clashed with the Real IRA over their vigilante-style actions in the capital.
In the aftermath of his murder, accusations were made of possible collusion between his killers and the 26 County Special Branch, who have worked to shut down his organisation.
Last year’s funeral was attended by thousands from all over Ireland and caused a political storm for its military bearing, including a gun salute over the coffin outside his home.
On Friday night the gravestone of Mr Ryan was vandalised, with graffiti daubed on the headstone and a picture of the murdered man removed with a chisel. Two explosive devices were found near the grave.
Hundreds later marched from the family home of the 32-year-old at Grange abbey in Clongriffin before proceeding to the cemetery in Balgriffin where he is buried. Scores of Gardai openly filmed those taking part.
Alan’s brother Dermot gave an oration at the graveside. Speaking later, he said his brother had died “fighting drug-dealing scum” and that his family had been victims of a Garda harassment campaign.
The 30-year-old again alleged the 26 County State was involved in his brother’s murder.
“More people have been arrested in connection with the funeral of Alan Ryan than with his murder,” he said. “It’s pure Garda harassment and I believe the State had a part to play in Alan’s death.”
A younger brother of Alan’s, Vincent, and another man arrested following the funeral and have now been held pending trial for several months.
Dermot, who was also arrested in the aftermath of his brother’s funeral but was subsequently released spoke out against was he said was the internment of his brother.
“My brother Vincent was interned for attending his own brother’s funeral,” he said.
“[26 County Minister for Justice] Alan Shatter got the hump over an IRA funeral, threw his toys out of the pram and he wanted action. Vincent and Darragh were selected as part of a campaign of harassment of the friends of Alan Ryan,” he said.
He told of his horror at the cold-blooded shooting of his brother, but that his convictions remained unshaken. “It has had a huge affect on my family. We’ve been devastated.”
However, he added it hasn’t changed their views. He and other family members took part in a republican protest outside the GPO last weekend, he said.
He declared: “We’ve been republicans all our lives. That will never change.”