Celtic and Ireland striker Anthony Stokes pictured at Real IRA benefit night

Updated: November 29, 2012
Stokes players lounge

Exiled Ireland striker Anthony Stokes has been pictured at a memorial party for a murdered Real IRA boss.

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The 24 year-old Celtic player, who is currently out injured was snapped at the Dublin benefit night held earlier this month in honour of Alan Ryan, who was killed in a street execution in September.

The pair are said to have known each other for years through Ryan’s association with the Players Lounge Bar in Fairview, a bar owned by Stokes’ dad, John, who was also at the party at The Submarine Bar in Crumlin.

The photograph, which was first published in The Irish Sun and subsequently in the Scottish Daily Record, shows Celtic striker Stokes posing with his arm draped around a woman in a gold dress.

The Players Brigade, a republican band of which Stokes’ brother Michael is a former member played and sold a tribute CD featuring a song called The Ballad of Alan Ryan at the event.

The song includes the lyrics: “We vow to carry on his work/ we will follow in his lead/ we will find out where those gangsters lurk/ we will avenge their cowardly deed.”

Gardaì in Dublin said leading republican dissidents from both sides of the border were present, including a number suspected of involvement in the recent murder of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black.

Ryan, 32, was the leader of the Dublin brigade of the Real IRA and is believed to have been responsible for a number of murders in recent years.

He has strong links to John Stokes (54) whose bar has been at the centre of violence and controversy in the past with three men, including a doorman, gunned down outside the bar in July 2010.

John was ordered to remove a 40ft banner barring the Queen from his pub during her visit to Ireland last year.

In August last year, the pub was gutted in a fire said to have been started by robbers.

Gangland enforcer Ryan was gunned down outside his home in Dublin in September.

His killer fired six shots from a Glock handgun, hitting Ryan in the chest before blasting him twice in the head.

On the day of his funeral in Dublin, former Sunderland and Hibernian star Stokes tweeted “Thinking of you Alan…”

Stokes, his agent and Celtic have declined to comment on his attendance at the party.

Stokes responded to the story via his twitter account today.

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