The funeral is taking place in Belfast of Frankie Curry, the Loyalist paramilitary who was shot dead in the west of the city on Wednesday. Mr. Curry was shot several times in the back of the head after leaving a social club at Malvern way in the Shankill area of the city.

He is now being buried in Roselawn cemetery after a service at Hopewell crescent. Mr. Curry had been released from Magilligan jail in County Derry on Monday after serving a short sentence for a non-paramilitary related offence.

It is understood that the victim had been expelled from the Red Hand Commandos, the smallest organisation within mainstream Loyalism, which called a ceasefire along with the UDA and the UVF in 1994. His name had been linked to the dissident Loyalist group, the Red Hand Defenders, but the organisation that admitted responsibility of killing Rosemary Nelson has denied he was a member.

Mr Curry, who was 45, was a nephew of the leading loyalist Gusty Spence, who announced that cessation. The Progressive Unionist Party's David Ervine said that he has spoken with paramilitary figures since returning from Washington and was certain that neither the UVF nor the Red Hand Commandos were involved.