Irish Republican News · January 17, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Death of ‘legendary republican’


IRA veteran Paddy Joe Rice has died aged 64. The high-profile republican passed away at his home in west Belfast on Thursday following a long illness.

Mr Rice was a member of the IRA’s D Company in the lower Falls area of the city and a close friend of the late Brendan Hughes.

In recent years, Mr Rice became an outspoken opponent of Sinn Fein’s political strategy as well as party leader Gerry Adams. However, a former comrade last night described him as a legendary figure in Irish republicanism.

Gerard Hodgins, a former IRA hunger striker, said: “Paddy Joe Rice was one of the giants of republicanism. He was seen as a leader who would have went out and done the work with the rest of them.

“Across the broader republican community, there will be sadness as had a legendary status.

“He never sold out and remained a man of principle.”

His death comes less than a month after he was arrested in connection with taped interviews made for the ‘Boston College Belfast Project’, an oral history archive which was subpoenad by the US and British authorities.

The father-of four was detained at his home in the lower Falls area, but was later released without charge.

A protest organised by the Brendan Hughes Commemoration Committee to highlight “political policing” was held on the Falls Road to coincide with Paddy Joe Rice’s arrest in December.

The PSNI arrested Mr Rice after first mistakenly arresting former Sinn Fein councillor Pat Rice, a retired grammar school teacher who was released hours later. His lawyer has since lodged a case for wrongful arrest.

Requiem Mass will be held at St Peter’s Cathedral in west Belfast on Saturday at 10am, followed by a service at Rose-lawn Crematorium at 2pm.

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