Wednesday 16 January 2019

Journalist shot during riots

GUNMAN: Dublin photographer hit in thigh in Belfast

AN award-winning photographer has been shot in the leg during the latest disturbances in Belfast.

Dublin based Niall Carson (33) was working for the Press Association when the trouble flared late last night.

He was hit after a gunman jumped up onto a wall and started firing.

Niall, a former winner of the Press Photographer of the Year award, was hit in the leg, with the bullet going straight through his thigh.

"I was covering the disturbances on the Lower Newtownards Road at the time and there was a lot of trouble. I'm told it was actually worse the night before though," Niall told the Herald.

"There were big crowds out and a lot of damage being done to houses in the Short Strand area. People including old people and young children were bing moved out," he added.

"We were advised to move because it wasn't safe, and I was taking cover behind a police Land Rover with some other media guys when this guy with a hood jumped up on a wall about five feet away and started firing," Niall remembered.

"Somebody shouted 'gun' and we all just ran, and then I felt a thump in the back of my thigh. I actually thought I had been hit with a plastic bullet at first."

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he underwent surgery.

"They just had to clean the wound. There was no bullet to recover because it went out the side of my leg," he said.

Niall, originally from Belfast, has worked with PA for five years, and in the North for 10.

Three shots were fired during the disturbances around the Short Strand area of east Belfast last night, which has seen its worst rioting for several years.

A police spokeswoman said there was "serious disorder" in the Lower Newtownards Road area of East Belfast.

On Monday, two people were shot in the leg during the riots.

It followed attacks on houses in the Catholic Short Strand area, which police blamed on the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Police faced fresh attacks last night as hundreds gathered near Newtonards Road.

Masked youths pelted each other with stones and fireworks.

Police said petrol bombs were also used, and officers discharged several baton rounds.


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