Northern Ireland news

Coroner hopes to set inquest date over Kevin McGuigan murder

Kevin McGuigan was shot dead in August 2015
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

A coroner has said he hopes to set a date for an inquest into the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan early next year.

During a brief preliminary hearing into Mr McGuigan’s death, coroner Paddy McGurgan received an update on the disclosure of evidence files relating to the case.

The inquest had been due to take place in May of this year, but that date had to be abandoned after delays in the PSNI handling of the disclosure process.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Peter Coll QC, acting for the PSNI, said that the process should be completed by the end of this year.

Mr McGurgan said: “I think I will list for another preliminary hearing on January 7, but at that hearing I would be keen to see if we can give this matter a hearing date.”

Mr McGuigan, a father-of-nine, was shot in the Short Strand in Belfast in August 2015.

His murder prompted a political crisis at Stormont amid claims IRA members were involved in the killing.

The shooting followed the murder of ex-IRA commander Jock Davison in the Markets area of the city three months earlier.

Mr Davison and Mr McGuigan had been involved in a personal dispute.

Police believe Mr McGuigan’s killers suspected him of involvement in Mr Davison’s death.

Mr McGuigan’s death led then PSNI chief constable Sir George Hamilton to state that the Provisional IRA still existed and some of its members were involved in the murder.

He said there was no evidence the killing was sanctioned by the organisation.

The killing led to a period of instability at Stormont with DUP ministers engaging in a series of rolling resignations in protest at the IRA’s alleged involvement in the shooting.

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