Northern Ireland news

Gun attack linked to escalating feud 'between rival factions within Travelling community'

Thomas O'Reilly (24), of near Ellisholding Road, Cloghoge, was granted High Court bail

A gun attack on a house in Newry is linked to an escalating feud between rival factions within the Travelling community, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed shots were fired at the property on March 26 in an attempt on the victim’s life.

Details emerged as one of five men accused of being in a “lookout” car was granted bail to live at an address in England.

Thomas O’Reilly (24) faces charges of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, assisting offenders, possessing an offensive weapon in public, and motoring offences.

A judge was told three men suspected of carrying out the shooting in the Altmore Gardens area are still at large.

The shotgun used to blast through the living room window, leaving a man inside uninjured but badly shocked, is also yet to be located.

O’Reilly, whose address was given as within the vicinity of Ellisholding Road, Cloghoge, was detained with his four co-accused in a BMW car stopped on the Carnagat Road.

A prosecution lawyer claimed the vehicle had been driven in the centre of the road in a deliberate bid to stop the police pursuing a Honda Accord allegedly involved in the shooting.

A slash hook on a long stick was recovered as part of the investigation.

“It’s considered that the occupants of the BMW knew of the planned attack,” the prosecution said.

“The police view is they must have been operating as lookouts.”

Opposing bail, the prosecutor expressed concerns that an ongoing feud may escalate further.

O’Reilly mounted a renewed bid to be released from custody based on the availability of an address in Buckinghamshire.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Colton stressed the accommodation must be approved by police.

He also banned O’Reilly from any contact with the injured party, co-accused or any witnesses.

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