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Police believe INLA and ONH were involved in fatal shooting of man outside Belfast school

Jim Donegan (43) was gunned down outside a school in west Belfast on 4 December 2018.

Police at the scene where Jim Donegan was shot dead on the Glen Road in West Belfast
Police at the scene where Jim Donegan was shot dead on the Glen Road in West Belfast
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

DETECTIVES IN NORTHERN Ireland are appealing for information on the first anniversary of the murder of a man who was shot outside a school in Belfast. 

On 4 December last year, 43-year-old Jim Donegan was murdered as he sat in his red Porsche Panamera, registration JDZ34, outside a school on the Glen Road in west Belfast. 

He was waiting to pick up his 13-year-old son at the time. 

The murder was carried out by a lone gunman in front of hundreds of innocent schoolchildren and their parents. 

The PSNI has previously stated that a republican element is a main line of enquiry, specifically the INLA. 

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery now believes the ONH (Óglaigh na hÉireann) was also involved. 

Montgomery believes that on the day of Donegan’s murder the gunman emerged from Clonelly Avenue onto Glen Road around 3.10pm. 

“He then walked past numerous children at around 3.15pm, calmly activated the pedestrian crossing, crossed the road and walked up Jim’s car, firing his weapon eight times before fleeing the scene,” Montgomery said. 

He added that the suspect was wearing a high-vis hip length yellow jacket, dark bottoms with a grey coloured hat or hood, and carrying a dark bag over his shoulder, which he believes contained the gun.

“I want to hear from you if you were in the area at the time. Did you see the gunman? Did he go into a house afterwards or get into a waiting car? Perhaps you have heard anyone talking about the killing? Montgomery said.

“I am confident that the answer to finding those involved in Jim’s murder lies within the community and I am appealing to people living in the area around Clonelly Avenue … to cast their minds back to this day last year,” he said. 

You may think something you saw was insignificant but it may be the final piece of the jigsaw needed. 

Montgomery said that some witnesses were aware of “someone wearing a bright fluorescent jacket” and that recollections are focussed on this. 

However, he said he needs people to try to remember if they saw the face of the person wearing it or anything unusual or distinct. 

Montgomery also believes that the same man tried to murder Donegan five days earlier “in circumstances that would appear to be the carbon copy of the actual murder”. 

During the investigation over the past year, detectives have seized 607 evidentiary exhibits, taken 213 statements, made 13 arrests, conducted 12 searches and seized and viewed 342 hours of CCTV footage. 

‘They deserve to have answers’ 

This will be the second Christmas Donegan’s family will spend without him. 

“They deserve to have answers and this community deserves to have this dangerous man sent to prison for this callous murder,” Montgomery said. 

“He thought nothing of firing indiscriminately up to eight times in an area crowded with young children and their parents at school pick up,” he said. 

Any one of those bullets could have gone astray and killed a child. And he didn’t care that mums, dads, grandparents, young siblings and people in the community also saw the brutal slaying. 

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The gunman may be in his late 30s to early 40s, around 5’8″ and may walk with a limp or may have an existing medical condition that impacts his walking style, according to Montgomery. 

Anyone with information about the day of Jim Donegan’s murder or the attempt that was abandoned the previous week is being asked to contact police on 101.

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