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Oglaigh na hEireann claim shotgun shooting

Forensics investigators examine the scene in Rossnareen Avenue following the shooting of Martin Gavin

DISSIDENT republican group Óglaigh na hÉireann (OnH) has claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of a west Belfast man who remains critically ill in hospital.

Martin Gavin, a member of the Travelling community, was shot in the back of the head as he sat in a car in Rosnareen Avenue, off the Shaws Road, on Thursday November 19.

Two men in high-visibility jackets approached the Vauxhall Zafira he was sitting in and fired shots through the window with a shotgun hitting their victim in head.

The pair then sped off in a car which had been stolen last March.

Two men, who are due to apply for High Court bail today, have been jointly charged with threatening to kill Mr Gavin days before the attack.

Edward James McKay (50) and his son Edward McKay (18) are the father and brother of Mr Gavin's partner Catherine. A court heard last week tha,t while they deny any involvement in the attempted murder, they remain suspects in the shooting.

However in a further development yesterday the group calling itself OnH, using a recognised codeword, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement they alleged the father-of-three was "targeted by OnH volunteers using a shotgun due to his links to a notorious criminal gang headed up by a west Belfast family".

"While it is regrettable that OnH volunteers had to take action against this individual, volunteers did so acting on behalf of a beleaguered community".

The statement also made a general threat to 'criminals' they said were "acting with full immunity from the PSNI to inflict fear and degradation on a proud working class community".

Police had been maintaining a heavy presence in the area since the shooting amid fears of retaliatory attacks.

Last Thursday dissident republicans armed with an AK47 fired eight shots at an armoured police car parked near Mr Gavin's home. Two officers escaped injury in the attack that was later claimed by the group calling itself the IRA.

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