Tuesday 25 October 2016

Former IRA leader Gerard 'Jock' Davison shot dead in south Belfast

Gerard 'Jock' Davison
Gerard 'Jock' Davison
Gerard 'Jock' Davison was questioned over the murder of Robert McCartney

A former IRA leader has been shot dead in south Belfast.

Gerard 'Jock' Davison was shot on Tuesday morning in the Markets area at 9.15am.

Children were running across the road screaming "daddy, daddy", according to reports.

Police remain at the scene and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

The number to call is 101 or information can be given anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

The ex-IRA man was working as a community worker in the Markets district.

He was part of the Markets Development Association and was one of the directors of the Cromac Regeneration initiative.

He was reportedly a senior member of PIRA in the city before becoming a supporter of Sinn Féin’s peace strategy.

Davison came from a family aligned to the republican movement during the Troubles.

His uncle Brendan 'Ruby' Davison was shot dead by the UVF close to the scene of Tuesday's killing in 1988.

Davison was quizzed about the murder of 33-year-old Robert McCartney outside Magennis's Bar in Belfast city-centre in January 2005, but was later released without charge.

Robert McCartney

The McCartneys led an international campaign after the 2005 murder.

Robert McCartney (33) was killed after trying to help his friend, Brendan Devine, who had become involved in a row in Magennis’s.

Three men were charged in connection with the killing: Terry Davison with murder, and Jim McCormick and Joe Fitzpatrick with causing an affray. But they were all acquitted in 2008.

No-one has been convicted for the murder of Mr McCartney a father-of-two from the Short Strand.

The victim's sister made the claim that Davison ordered the murder.

In a 2007 interview with Sunday Life, Gerard 'Jock' Davison claimed "I'm no tout" after the murder-victim's sister, Catherine, posed the question in her new book, Walls of Silence.

Davison said at the time: "I never, ever gave any information on my comrades or my friends during my 25 years in the republican movement. Any republican who knows me knows this.

"There is not one shred of truth in this suggestion that I was an agent. It would take Al Hutchinson or Jane Winters from BIRW just five minutes to establish this fact.

"I challenge the McCartneys to make a complaint immediately and I will co-operate fully with any investigation."

SDLP south Belfast Westminster candidate Dr Alasdair McDonnell said it was a "horrendous crime".

He said: “This is a horrendous crime and those responsible have shown no regard for anyone that could have been caught in the middle of it during the school rush hour. Witnesses have described how the man was shot in the street.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family at this traumatic time.

“People here want to move on from the violence of the past. This community will reject those who bring murder and mayhem to our streets. I would appeal to anyone with any information to bring it forward as soon as possible.”

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