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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 6 July, 2020

Man arrested in relation to 1976 murder of father-of-two

Paul McNally was 26 when he was shot in Belfast in what police believe was a random sectarian attack.

Paul McNally
Paul McNally
Image: PSNI Handout

A MAN HAS been arrested in Belfast in connection with a 36-year-old unsolved murder investigation.

Detectives in the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch said the 55-year-old was taken into custody as part of a renewed inquiry into the murder of Paul McNally, a father-of-two, who was shot on 5 June 1976 in what they believe was a random sectarian attack.

Police believe a fresh inquiry could be successful.

“Much has changed over the past 36 years in many aspects of life, in terms of policing, politics, personal outlooks and relationships – I would ask those who have information about Paul’s murder to think about what they know, do the right thing and talk to police.”

The victim and a number of other local men were leaving Sean Graham’s bookmakers at the junction of Brompton Park and Crumlin Road on that fateful afternoon when two gunmen opened fire on the group.

As the gunmen left the scene in a yellow Ford Cortina at about 2.40pm, a passing army patrol opened fire on the two attackers.

The getaway vehicle had been hijacked in the Shankill Road area a few minutes prior to the shooting. It was recovered in the same area after the attack.

McNally was seriously injured by a gunshot wound and died two days later in hospital. Another man also sustained serious injuries in the shooting.

McNally, a plumber by trade, was married and was a father to a four-year-old daughter and five-month-old son.

“Police have re-opened this investigation following the receipt of information and a number of preliminary enquiries,” said Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, the officer in charge of the investigation.

“We have made an arrest and a suspect has been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station for questioning.

“I fully appreciate the challenges of renewing an investigation into events which took place more than 36 years ago but I believe there are people in the Ardoyne and elsewhere who can assist.

“This random sectarian attack took place on a busy Saturday afternoon in June. I would appeal to people who spoke with police at the time of the murder to make contact with the new investigation team. I would also ask those who may not have previously spoken to police to contact detectives investigating Paul McNally’s murder.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the investigation team on 028 9180 1507. Alternatively, anyone who would prefer to provide information anonymously can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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