Northern Ireland news

Video: Poleglass murder was 'savage and senseless'

Claire Simpson
21 October, 2016 01:00

THE fatal shooting of a man in his forties in west Belfast last night had "all the hallmarks" of a paramilitary-style attack, a councillor said.

The man, named locally as Joe Reilly, was believed to have been shot twice in the chest.

The attack at the man's house in Glenwood Court in Poleglass was reported shortly after 8.15pm.

It is thought he was sitting at home when he was shot through a window. 

Glenwood Court cul-de-sac remains cordonned off this afternoon with forensic officers at the scene. 

As parents walked past the red and white police tape to drop their children at a school, just a few hundred metres away, there was a palpable sense of shock, although few people wanted to speak publicly.

One woman, who was looking on at the police line while clutching her young daughter, said the community was stunned.

The attack happened just days after Peter Lagan (56) was shot six times by republican paramilitary group Óglaigh na hÉireann in neighbouring Glenwood Drive on Sunday evening. The group also claimed its members planned to kill another man in his house in north Belfast on Sunday but the intended victim was not at home.

It is believed last night's shooting was not connected to Sunday's shooting or planned attack.

In a joint statement, the First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness united in condemnation of the gun attack.

"We unreservedly condemn the murder of a man shot dead in his home in Poleglass last night," they said.

"This savage killing is senseless and has achieved nothing. The perpetrators care only for themselves."

Sinn Féin councillor Stephen Magennis, who visited the scene in Poleglass with party colleague and West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann, said the fatal attack had all the hallmarks of a paramilitary-style shooting.

"I would condemn this utterly," he said.

"The community is just in shock. No-one wants this and they have told me they don't want it".

Mr Magennis said the area was very tense last night and community representatives had been trying to calm the situation.

"There are a lot of people who were friends with the man's son. They are in complete shock", he said.

SDLP West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood said the attack was "barbaric".

"This is a very small group of people, unrepresentative of the local community, who have now repeatedly taken the law into their own hands," he said.

"The best response that we can make is to provide information to law enforcement and ensure that these individuals are caught, arrested and prosecuted under the full weight of the law."

People Before Profit councillor Matt Collins said he was disturbed by the "unjustifiable" attack.

"My thoughts are with the man's family at this time," he said. "Paramilitarism should be a thing of the past. The people of west Belfast do not want guns on their streets."

Justice minister Claire Sugden offered her sympathies to the victim's family.

“Murder is an attack against our entire community and those responsible have no place in society while they continue to be involved in crime.”

The attack came after a 22-year-old man was abducted from his home in Derry and shot in a paramilitary attack in Dungiven, Co Derry, on Wednesday night.

A paramilitary group calling itself the North Derry Republican Group said it was responsible.

21 October, 2016 01:00 Northern Ireland news

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