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Victim a once senior IRA man who went on to work in the community

PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/05/2015.Gerard Davidson, who was shot dead in the markets area of Belfast this morning..

MURDER victim Gerard 'Jock' Davison was once the most senior member of the IRA in Belfast and a member of the organisation's Northern Command.

The 47-year-old, who in recent years was a supporter of Sinn Féin and the peace process, came from a well-known republican family in the Markets area of south Belfast.

The father-of-three was at the forefront of the IRA during the early 1990s when the organisation - using the name Direct Action Against Drugs - was responsible for a spate of murders of high profile criminals.

He was present in Magennis's Bar in Belfast city-centre in January 2005, when a fight broke out involving a number of people including Short Strand man Robert McCartney.

Mr Davison was injured in a fracas inside the bar which later spilled out onto the street and ended in 33-year-old Mr McCartney being stabbed to death.

He was arrested and questioned about the killing but released without charge.

He was among a number of republicans expelled by the IRA in the wake of the murder that caused a political fall out after a high profile campaign by Mr McCartney's sisters.

It was also claimed that the IRA offered to shoot Mr Davison and a number of others involved in the murder during a meeting with the McCartney sisters.

While a number of those expelled later became opponents of Sinn Féin, Mr Davison remained loyal to the leadership and was 'rehabilitated' back onto the mainstream republican movement.

Prior to his murder he worked for the Markets Development Association in a community development role, and while a supporter of the peace process, he had kept a relatively low profile politically in recent years.

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