8 arrested after gang clashes with police at funeral of Sinn Fein figure

DUBLIN — Police in Dublin have arrested eight people in relation to a violent brawl that erupted at the funeral of an influential Sinn Fein figure in north Dublin on Friday.

A police spokesman told the Irish Times that six people were arrested Friday night on suspicion of offenses including assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of criminal damage. A seventh person was arrested late on Friday night and was in custody on Saturday, while five men and a woman had been interviewed, he said.

Ten police officers were injured in the fight, which took place at All-Starr’s cemetery in Coalisland, the northern suburb of the Irish capital. At least four people were arrested for possession of illegal weapons, the authorities said.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams called the outbreak of violence an “utter disgrace.”

“The funeral attended by hundreds of people was under close and strict police protection and, to everyone’s horror, those with intent to cause trouble attacked the guards with weapons,” he said.

The Observer, a newspaper in north Dublin, reported on Saturday that a group of youths stood outside the church before it opened for the funeral and threw eggs, coffee and soda as Adams and other Sinn Fein officials were entering the chapel.

Shadows briefly appeared on the glass on the marble, but none had been thrown inside the church. Officers at the scene told the Observer that all public order orders had been complied with.

The cemetery had cordoned off a section of the plot where one of the suspects was believed to be buried. Images of the mob were taken by a photographer and aired on television.

Officers were taken off duty following the incident.

The The Irish Times said Deputy Superintendent John Prather told a news conference later on Saturday that forensic experts had examined the back of the church, where the burial was believed to have taken place. The decomposed body was found on Saturday evening. Prather said a post-mortem would have to take place on the body before the cause of death could be determined.

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