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McGlinchey mourners cheer tribute

TERRORIST mass murderer Dominic ''Mad Dog'' McGlinchey won emotional praise from former MP Bernadette Devlin when she told a crowd of more than 1000 at his funeral that he ''was the finest republican of them all''.

Close family friend Devlin, now Bernadette McAliskey, told mourners that McGlinchey, one of the worst terrorist murderers in Northern Ireland's 25 years of violence, had never wanted to be a ''soldier''. But she added: ''This man never in the whole of his life dishonoured the cause he believed in''.

Earlier, she helped to carry his tricolour-draped coffin from St Mary's Roman Catholic church at Bellaghy, County Londonderry, to the graveside where she gave the oration. And she was applauded as she launched a tirade there against the press for what had been written about the self-confessed terrorist, branding journalists curs and dogs. She said: ''May every one of them rot in hell.''

The former Irish National Liberation Army chief, who once boasted he had murdered 30 people, was buried in the same grave as his wife, Mary, also murdered, and baby daughter Marie, who died from meningitis.

McGlinchey, 39, died as he had lived -- in a hail of bullets.

He was dragged from a telephone box at Drogheda, County Louth, in the Irish Republic, and shot at least 10 times in front of his son Dominic, 16, on Thursday night.

Dominic, and older brother Declan, 19, carried their father's coffin from their grandmother's Bellaghy home.

Surprisingly, for a funeral of a man who had quit the IRA to join the INLA, leading Sinn Fein member Martin McGuinness also briefly acted as a pall-bearer.

At the funeral mass, parish priest Fr Michael Flanagan said McGlinchey had died a ''hard and violent death. No one deserved to die like he did''.

But McGlinchey had died with a prayer on his lips, said the priest, adding: ''There is a little bit of good in the worst of us''.

In an interview given to a Dublin Sunday newspaper 12 days before his death, and published yesterday, McGlinchey said he knew killers had been stalking him since his release from Portlaoise prison 10 months ago.

He claimed they were an Armagh-based family with whom he had feuded in the 1980s and said he believed they had been behind a murder attempt in which he was seriously injured last June in the Irish Republic.

McGlinchey's wife was gunned down seven years ago at the age of 32 -- while her husband was in prison -- as she bathed her two children in her home at Dundalk, County Louth.

Police mounted a substantial security operation for yesterday's funeral.

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