Northern Ireland

Belfast shooting: Ex-IRA man Gerard 'Jock' Davison shot dead

Gerard 'Jock' Davison Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Gerard 'Jock' Davison was shot dead in the Markets area of Belfast

A former senior IRA figure has been shot dead near Belfast city centre.

Gerard 'Jock' Davison, 47, was shot a number of times at Welsh Street in the Markets area at about 09:00 BST.

Police do not believe dissident republicans were behind the attack and they do not believe it was sectarian.

It is understood Mr Davison was involved in the fight in a Belfast bar in January 2005 that led to the death of Robert McCartney, one of Northern Ireland's most high profile killings.

Mr Davison's uncle Terence was later acquitted of Mr McCartney's murder.

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Media captionGerard 'Jock' Davison was killed at Welsh Street in the Markets area on Tuesday morning

Det Ch Insp Justyn Galloway said: "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."

Appealing for information, he said: "We have detectives in the Markets area making house to house enquiries and seeking to identify witnesses.

"I would appeal to local people to co-operate with them and give them any information they have."

The detective said Mr Davison was a grandfather and "a high-profile community worker who devoted much of his time to those living in the Markets".

"In fact, Mr Davison was walking to a local community centre where he worked when he was shot," he said.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said: "This brutal act will be condemned by all sensible people - there can be no place today for such actions.

"I would urge anyone with any information to bring that forward to the PSNI."

Image caption Security tents have been put up at the scene

The murder of Mr Davison has also been condemned by politicians in the area.

Sinn Féin assembly member Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said there was shock that the man had been shot dead "in such a callous fashion in broad daylight while on his way to work".

"The victim is from the area and well-known for his work in the community sector," he said.

"Local people are shocked and angered by what has happened, and I would appeal to people to remain calm."

Image caption Forensics tests have been carried out

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said: "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.

"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."

Alliance councillor Paula Bradshaw said: "Guns have no place on our streets - those responsible for this vicious crime are a danger to our society and must be urgently apprehended by the police.

"Whoever carried out this murder must be taken off our streets and brought before the courts to face justice for their horrific crimes."

Image caption Emergency services were sent to the scene following the shooting

DUP MLA Jonathan Bell said: "No right-thinking person wants to go back to the days when this sort of event was all too common, not only in Belfast but throughout our province, and those responsible have to be brought to justice and have to face a court of law."

UUP representative Rodney McCune said: "The timing of the murder at nine o'clock in the morning - people are going to work, taking their children to school - will be a matter of some shock, naturally.

"Especially because it will send a message across the city that these type of serious incidents are still happening and we do have a strong criminal element in society."

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