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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 13 December, 2018
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Ex-IRA commander Jock Davison gunned down in Belfast

The 47-year-old was on his way to a local community centre where he worked when he was shot.

Forensic officers in Welsh Street, in the Markets area
Forensic officers in Welsh Street, in the Markets area
Image: PA

Updated at 9.35pm

A FORMER IRA leader has been shot dead today in the Markets area of Belfast.

The PSNI confirmed 47-year-old  Gerard “Jock” Davison was shot a number of times as he walked along Welsh Street at around 9am this morning. Despite the efforts of local people and paramedics, the man died at the scene.

RTÉ reports this evening that the PSNI says it believes the shooting was not sectarian.

Davison was a former IRA leader who later supported Sinn Féin’s peace strategy.

He was questioned by police about the killing of Robert McCartney outside a Belfast pub ten years ago - but was later released without charge. No-one has been convicted for the murder of the 33-year-old, who was beaten and stabbed to death at Magennis’s Bar.

McCartney’s sisters accused Davison of making a throat-slashing gesture to other IRA members colleagues in the crowded pub shortly before McCartney was fatally stabbed.

More recently, he was described in newspaper reports as being a ‘community worker’ in the area.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said Davison was walking to a local community centre when he was shot this morning.

Britain Northern Ireland Killing A member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland at the scene. Source: Peter Morrison/AP/PA

“This was a cold-blooded murder carried out in broad daylight in a residential area and it has no place in the new Northern Ireland,” he said.

Detectives are in the area making house-to-house enquiries and seeking witnesses. Galloway appealed to local people to co-operate with them and give them any information they have.

The murder has been condemned by local politicians and I am grateful for their appeals for people to co-operate with police.

Jock Davison shooting Sinn Fen MLAs Alex Maskey (left) and Mairtin O Muilleoir at the scene in the Markets area of Belfast. Source: Lesley Anne McKeown/PA

The scene of the shooting has been sealed off, and a number of emergency services vehicles remain in the area.

“There have been quite distressing scenes here,” a reporter for the BBC’s Stephen Nolan Show said earlier today, following the shooting.

“A number of children and adults arrived here, some of them running across the road screaming ‘daddy, daddy’.”

“This is a horrendous crime and those responsible have shown no regard for anyone that could have been caught in the middle of it during the school rush hour,” SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said in a statement.

“Witnesses have described how the man was shot in the street.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family at this traumatic time.

“People here want to move on from the violence of the past.

“This community will reject those who bring murder and mayhem to our streets. I would appeal to anyone with any information to bring it forward as soon as possible.”

Britain Northern Ireland Killing Source: AP/Press Association Images

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan also condemned the murder which he said “displayed a callous disregard for others” and undermined the greater good.

This murder in the Markets area of Belfast was particularly heinous, taking place in a residential area, when people were going to work and children to school.

“Those who murder, or who attempt to do so, seek only to bring us back to a past which the community has left behind.

Jock Davison shooting Source: Niall Carson

Detectives are appealing for any witnesses, or anyone with information, to contact the PSNI non-emergency line on ’101′.

- With additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy and Aoife Barry

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