'Prominent loyalist paramilitary' shot dead had survived previous murder attempt
Published 08/08/2016 | 06:09
A prominent loyalist paramilitary shot dead in Belfast had survived a previous murder bid.
Ulster Defence Association (UDA) member John Boreland, who was in his mid-forties, was gunned down in Sunningdale Gardens in the unionist Ballysillan area of north Belfast at around 9.50pm on Sunday.
Two years ago the victim, who was heavily linked with local criminality, was shot in the thigh by rival loyalists.
The killing has prompted fears of an escalation of violence between loyalist factions.
First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire have all condemned the killing.
"Shocked and disgusted to hear of a murder in nth Belfast tonight," Mrs Foster tweeted.
"I urge everyone to work with the police as they investigate."
Mr McGuinness branded the shooting "shameless".
"There can be no justification for the murder of a well known Loyalist in N.Belfast tonight," he tweeted.
"This was shameful & I unreservedly condemn it."
Mr Brokenshire said on Twitter: "Concerned to hear of fatal shooting in N Belfast. No place for violence in communities. Urge anyone with info to contact PSNI."
Ulster Unionist member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board Ross Hussey said: "I am very saddened to hear of a fatal shooting in north Belfast.
"Murder is murder and cannot be justified. It must be condemned.
"I would urge anyone with information to contact the police so that those responsible can be brought to justice."
There have been mounting tensions between rival loyalists in north Belfast in recent weeks.
Loyalist gunmen have been responsible for dozens of murders since the organisations supposedly went on ceasefire in the 1990s.
Many of the killings have been linked to feuds and turf wars among loyalist rivals.
The latest shooting has prompted further questions about the authenticity of the ceasefires.
Last year, the main loyalist paramilitary groups restated their commitment to non-violence as they came together to launch a new initiative - the Loyalist Communities Council.
Boreland was a close associate of well-known north Belfast loyalist Andre Shoukri.
Ten years ago the UDA expelled Shoukri and his late brother Ihab from the organisation after a bitter fall-out between their gang and the mainstream leadership.
Democratic Unionist Assembly member for north Belfast Nelson McCausland condemned the "shocking" murder.
"No-one has the right to take life," he said.
"There will be speculation as to the reason for the murder but whatever the reason, it is wrong.
"We had too many murders down through the years and too many lives have been taken.
"That is why I want to see all the guns off the streets.
"This happened on a quiet Sunday night and there are quite a number of elderly folk who live close to where this happened. They must have been alarmed that this happened outside their homes.
"It is imperative that anyone who has information about the murder makes that available to the police so that the culprit can be brought before the courts."
Sinn Fein MLA for north Belfast Gerry Kelly said: "I call on anyone with information on this shooting to bring it forward to the police so those responsible can be caught and taken off the streets.
"The people behind this attack want to plunge us back to the past. They must not be allowed to succeed.
"I am calling on local political leaders and people with influence in the community and civic society to do all in their power to prevent any further attacks or any escalation of what appears to be internal loyalist feuding."