Northern Ireland

West Belfast community in shock over 'despicable' cemetery shooting

City Cemetery in west Belfast where a man was shot in the foot. Picture Mal McCann
City Cemetery in west Belfast where a man was shot in the foot. Picture Mal McCann

A shooting in a west Belfast cemetery has been condemned as a “despicable” act that has left the community shocked and angry.

A police spokesperson said that shortly after 10.30am on Thursday, they received a report that two masked men had taken a man into the City Cemetery in the Falls Road area.

“The man, aged in his 20s, was then shot in the foot before the suspects, dressed in dark clothing, fled the scene,” they said.

The victim was taken to hospital by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening at this stage.

“This shooting is a clear violation of the victim’s human rights. Everyone has the right to live their life free from the threat of violence,” the police spokesperson added.

“There is no justification for this type of attack. Those responsible place not just the victim at risk, but also the wider community.”

Condemning the incident, People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said: “These vile actions have no place in our society.

“Poverty and social deprivation are enough of a blight on working class communities without the added misery of such attacks. 

“Those responsible have nothing to offer West Belfast but fear and intimidation. It’s time for them to go.”

SDLP councillor Paul Doherty said the local community had been particularly outraged the attack took place in a cemetery.

“This shooting was a despicable act and the fact that it took place within the grounds of the City Cemetery has left the local community both shocked and angry,” he said.

“There can be no place for shootings anywhere, but the fact that this took place in a cemetery has upset many people in this area who have loved ones buried there. 

“The presence of masked men with guns on our streets is extremely sinister and has once again drawn attention to our community for all the wrong reasons. 

“This is a place where good work goes on every single day, where people have each other’s backs and the men who carried out this attack have no support here.”

Police have urged anyone with relevant information including mobile or dash-cam footage to call 101, quoting reference 2231 for June 8.

Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.