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Murder of Michael McGibbon: ‘IRA' claims responsibility

Michael McGibbon pictured with his wife Joanne. The republican group known as the 'IRA' has said it shot him last week
Connla Young

THE paramilitary group known as the ‘IRA’ has claimed responsibility for killing north Belfast man Michael McGibbon.

In a statement on Tuesday, it said it carried out the shooting that claimed the 33-year-old taxi driver’s life but the intention was not to kill him.

The father-of-four died after he was shot three times in the leg in an alleyway in Ardoyne on Friday.

It is believed his wife Joanne, a nurse, fought to save him before he was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he later died.

In a statement using a recognised codeword, the ‘IRA’ said “the intention of this operation was to carry out a punishment shooting".

“Tragically this resulted in his death.”

The ‘IRA’ is the most active of the republican paramilitary groups and has carried out a series of gun and bomb attacks in recent years.

The organisation also claimed responsibility for killing prison officer Adrian Ismay in east Belfast last month, who died days after a bomb exploded under his van.

Mr McGibbon was shot at an alleyway at Butler Place on Friday.

It is understood he was visited by two masked men at his home a day earlier who warned him they would be back when he refused to leave the house.

North Belfast SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness condemned the paramilitary group.

“This is an outrageous statement,” he said.

“Here are people who have given themselves, without mandate whatsoever, the right to be judge, jury and indeed executioner.

“They are now admitting they carried out this heinous act and they should be ashamed of themselves and should be widely condemned for their actions.

“Anybody who uses a gun to carry out what they term some sort of punishment shooting is risking not just serious injury but life.

“With this action they ended this young man’s life and did so without any legitimate authority.”

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