GARDAI are to mount a significant presence at the republican funeral of murdered dissident Larry 'Bomber' Keane.
Associates of the notorious IRA sympathiser, who was fatally injured in Athy last week, are preparing to stage a funeral similar to the one held for gang boss Alan Ryan.
Detectives are planning to keep a close eye on the event amid expectations that it will attract senior figures in the Real IRA.
However dissidents preparing to attend this week's service have been told that there will be no volley of shots that sparked outrage at the funeral Alan Ryan last September.
Former soldier Keane suffered fatal head injuries when he was attacked in a walkway between two housing estates at around 5am on July 18.
He was a notorious figure in the IRA and served 15 years for plotting to bomb the Grand National in Aintree.
Members of the 32 County Sovereign Movement – known as the political wing of the IRA – held a demonstration in Athy last week demanding the release of Keane's body.
A spokesman for the group said a 'full republican funeral' is being planned.
"Those present will be wearing berets and dark glasses but there will be no volley of shots like we saw at the funeral of Alan Ryan," the spokesman said.
"There will be no trouble at this funeral and we have told gardai as much.
"Larry Keane's family are distraught and are particularly upset that the body has not yet been released."
It is expected that the funeral will be held this week in Athy and will attract a large contingent from the North.
Gardai investigating Keane's murder arrested a 47-year-old man in the Athy area last Thursday. He was later released without charge.
Keane's most serious conviction was a 10-year sentence in 1998 after he was caught with a 980lb bomb about to board a ferry at Dun Laoghaire.
The Herald revealed that two couples who had no involvement in any criminal activity were caught up in Keane's arrest shortly after 5am on the morning of April 2, 1998.
Keane was driving a stolen BMW which had been specially adapted to carry the bomb on to the car ferry when he stopped his car and approached the couples, who were in a car behind.
All of Keane's movements were being watched by the garda's emergency response unit, who moved in and arrested Keane and the two couples to whom he was spotted talking.
In December 1998, Keane was handed a 15-year sentence for possession of the bomb that could have caused a blast twice as large as the Omagh explosion. This was later reduced to 10 years on appeal.
After his release, Keane continued to come to the attention of gardai for public order and assault offences and was a prominent mourner at the funeral of Alan Ryan.
Gardai are continuing to appeal for information about the assault that led to his death.