Northern Ireland news

List of unsolved murders in north and west Belfast ‘deeply concerning'

Dan Murray pictured with his partner Ciara Austin after the gun attack at their north Belfast home last year. Picture by Mal McCann

THE lack of charges in relation to murders and shootings by republicans and vigilante-style groups in north and west Belfast is "deeply disappointing", Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly has said.

The north Belfast MLA was speaking following the murder of Dan Murray, the 55-year-old fast food delivery driver who was shot dead in Lady Street in the Grosvenor Road area of west Belfast on Monday.

He had been lured to the area by a hoax call that was made from a phone box at the corner of the Antrim Road and Cliftonville Road in north Belfast shortly after 10pm.

The killers made off on foot, leading police to think that they had help from someone in the area.

The victim had previously been shot in the face by members of the vigilante group Action Against Drugs last year. No one has been arrested for that attack.

Six people have been murdered in north and west Belfast in the last three years by organised gangs, with two attempted murders in the last week alone.

There have been arrests but no charges in any of the murders.

Mr Kelly said police are not "getting the flow of information they need to bring people to justice".

"I think there is fear involved but let me make it very clear, the fear is not the whole community being afraid of them.

"When an incident takes place it takes place in a very small area, there may or may not be witnesses.

"Rumours aren't good enough to being people to justice.

"What needs to happen in terms of stopping these killings is stopping the people who are carrying them out and that means they need to be brought to the courts and brought to jail."

In January father-of-two Conor McKee (31) was found dead at his home in the Oldpark area of north Belfast after being shot with a shotgun.

Last month father-of-four Michael McGibbon (33) died in hospital after he was shot three times in the leg in the nearby Ardoyne area.

Two men also survived attempts on their lives in the last week.

Scott McHugh was shot at a house in the Grosvenor area of west Belfast. He had previously been arrested about the murder of IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison last year.

Frankie Donnelly Jnr was shot in the back in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on Monday. It is thought he may have been the victim of a personal dispute.

Former CIRA boss Tommy Crossan was also gunned down in a fuel yard in west Belfast in April 2014.

Kevin Kearney was shot dead and his body dumped in a lake in a north Belfast park the previous year.

Pizza delivery driver Kieran McManus was also shot dead outside a pizza take-away where he worked as a delivery driver in west Belfast in April 2013.

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said yesterday: "The huge numbers of good people, our older citizens and young families who live amid this threat need new actions and renewed hope that the threat will be comprehensively faced down."

In a joint statement, Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned recent shootings as "barbaric and wrong".

"We unreservedly condemn the actions of the perpetrators who care only for themselves," they said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families, and in particular the family of Daniel Murray who was shot dead.

"Anyone with information about the attacks should bring it to the PSNI immediately."

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