Middleton calls for action after shots fired at Peggy O’Hara’s wake

The coffin of Peggy O'Hara flanked by four masked women at William Street in Derry.
The coffin of Peggy O'Hara flanked by four masked women at William Street in Derry.

Police in Londonderry carried out searches and seized a number of items after DUP MLA Gary Middleton called for action over a masked gunman firing shots at Peggy O’Hara’s wake.

“The PSNI must take action against those who were involved in terrorist activity tonight. It is unacceptable that masked gunmen are branding weapons and firing shots in broad daylight on our streets,” said the Londonderry MLA.

“It’s evident from several photos which have appeared that an elected representative was also in attendance during this display of terrorism,” he added.

Mr Middleton went on to call for those who fired the shots to be pursued and brought before the ocurts.

“I call on the PSNI to urgently take action and bring those involved in front of the courts.

“Londonderry and Strabane council should also take action against the councillor who was full witness to the firing of the shots,” he said.

The shots were fired outside the Templegrove wake house of Mrs O’Hara, the mother of Patsy O’Hara, an INLA member who died on hunger strike in the Maze in 1981.

Mrs O’Hara had stood unsuccessfully as an independent republican candidate in Foyle in the 2007 Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, DUP Councillor David Ramsey hit out after masked men accompanied Mrs O’Hara’s funeral cortege through the city on Saturday.

He took to social media to tweet: “Media silence while terrorists show of strength in chapel grounds, are we #ireland or #Syria @derryjournal @DerryNews @L_Sentinel”

Police carried out searches in Londonderry on Sunday.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said: “This morning’s searches follow a number of recent incidents linked to the wake and funeral of Peggy O’Hara. A number of items have been seized and police enquiries are ongoing.”

DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney welcomed the police move.

“I hope as a result of these searches someone is brought to book for it,” he said.

“With the incident of the shots being fired at the wake, there should have been a police presence there. It should have been monitored by video.

“I’d also condemn those wearing paramilitary clothing and those who brought guns on to the streets at a time when we are trying to move on across Northern ireland,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness expressed condolences following Mrs O’Hara’s death, stating: “I was saddened to hear of the death this morning of Peggy O’Hara, mother of Hunger Striker, Patsy. Peggy along with the parents and families of the other Long Kesh martyrs suffered long agonising days of torment as they watched their sons die in order that their comrades would be treated as political prisoners.”

“Peggy watched for 61 days as Patsy’s life slowly ebbed away and showed tremendous courage by acting in accordance with his wishes.”

The Deputy First Minister, who attended the funeral, said: “The death of Peggy O’Hara will be received with sadness by all who knew her and within the wider republican family and I send my condolences to her family Sean, Seamus, Tony and Elizabeth, family circle and friends.”