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Tuesday, August 3, 1999 Published at 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK


Special Report

Shooting victim's funeral

Police search for clues at scene of alleged IRA killing

The funeral of Belfast man Charles Bennett, believed to have been killed by the IRA, will be held on Tuesday amid fears for the future of the peace process.

Requiem mass will take place at St Patrick's Church, Donegall Street and the 22-year-old will then be buried in the City Cemetery.

Mr Bennett's body was discovered on Friday morning in an alley off the mainly nationalist Falls Road in West Belfast. He had been missing since the previous Sunday.

Victims' hands were bound

He had been shot through the head and his hands had been bound behind his back.


[ image: Victim's killing was IRA style 'execution' - RUC]
Victim's killing was IRA style 'execution' - RUC
Police believe the shooting resembled an IRA "execution" and there have been reports alleging the victim was working as an informer for the RUC.

Clergy in Mr Bennett's home parish have condemned his killing and have said that parishioners have been shocked and angered.

"I think there's a community feeling that there's someone very, very misguided behind this murder," said Father David White.

"Someone who is intent on wrecking this city, causing turmoil in the minds of people and certainly wrecking the peace process."

The killing of Charles Bennett is a double blow for his family, as his mother died just three months ago.

The latest incident has led to increased speculation about the pressure on the peace process.

Unionists are insisting that the killing bears the hallmarks of the IRA, while Sinn Fein are dismissing their claims as "speculation".

'Governments should clarify links'

Former Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader John Bruton has called for a clear statement from the British and Irish Governments on their view about the links between the IRA and Sinn Fein.


[ image: John Bruton: calls for clarity on Sinn Fein link to IRA]
John Bruton: calls for clarity on Sinn Fein link to IRA
"The rules of democracy have to be laid down by the elected governments of Ireland and Britain and that hasn't been done in a sufficiently clear way," he said.

"As long as we're in an area where we seem to be saying that Sinn Fein are separate for political accountability purposes - if that's the case, where does it end?"

The Fine Gael leader's statement has been condemned by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

"Mr Bruton's eagerness to attack Sinn Fein and to deny our electorate their democratic right and entitlements is at odds with his alleged support for the peace process and is sharp contrast with his attitude towards unionism."



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01 Aug 99 | UK
Call to clarify parties stance

30 Jul 99 | UK
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