Northern Ireland news

Murdered man Danny McClean (54) was facing weapons charge

Daniel McClean, who was shot dead in the Cliftonville Road area of north Belfast

A 54-year-old man gunned down in north Belfast was facing terrorism-related charges.

Danny McClean was sitting in a car in a driveway on Cliftonville Road when he was targeted at close range by a lone gunman on Tuesday evening.

His murder is being linked to a fall-out among dissident republicans that also claimed the life of Kieran Wylie, shot in his west Belfast home last May.

A former member of Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), McClean, originally from Andersonstown, had been living at a number of different addresses due to a threat to his life.

His name had appeared in threatening graffiti on walls in west Belfast last year.

Kieran Wylie was shot dead in west Belfast in May 2020

The father-of-two served a short prison sentence after being convicted in January 2019 in an MI5 sting targeting members of ONH.

The court was told he was secretly taped threatening to blow a man's legs "clean off" with a shotgun and that he "wouldn't think twice about putting him in a body bag".

Along with a co-accused he admitted assaulting an unknown man and collecting information useful to terrorists on suspected drug dealers.

During his sentencing it emerged he had been a member of the British army in the 1990s.

Following his release he was told he was under threat from ONH.

Friends say he planned to flee Northern Ireland but bail conditions linked to pending charges prevented him from leaving.

Due in court next week, he had been charged with two counts of possessing documents likely to be "useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

He was also accused of possession of a 9mm handgun and a magazine with 17 rounds of ammunition.

The Irish News understands that given the execution-style nature of the killing, detectives are also looking at possible links with the December 2018 killing of drug dealer Jim Donegan outside a west Belfast school.

Jim Donegan was shot dead in December 2018 as he sat in his car in west Belfast

Superintendent Jason Murphy said it was a "brutal and calculated murder" in a built-up residential area, putting families there at risk.

He appealed to the local community to help police.

"It is extremely fortunate that no-one else was injured as a result of this shooting. I have no doubt that local people will have been left extremely traumatised by this ruthless murder."

Posting on social media, one of Mr McClean's daughters said: "I have no words at the moment, just that my daddy didn’t deserve this at all.

"He was my all... I won’t stop fighting for justice."

Forensic officers at the scene:

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Northern Ireland news