Protest rally calls for end to armed attacks and murder

Gemma Weir at A protest rally against recent murders, attempted murders and maimings was be held at the shopping complex on the Grosvenor Road at 7.30pm on Wednesday May 11

Gemma Weir at A protest rally against recent murders, attempted murders and maimings was be held at the shopping complex on the Grosvenor Road at 7.30pm on Wednesday May 11

A vigil has been held on the Grosvenor Road in west Belfast to protest against an upsurge in gun violence.

Organised by the Workers Party, the rally was prompted by the murder on Monday night of delivery driver Dan Murray in nearby Lady Street.

Police officers hand out leaflets at a protest rally against recent murders, attempted murders and maimings held in west Belfast

Police officers hand out leaflets at a protest rally against recent murders, attempted murders and maimings held in west Belfast

Around 100 people heard a number of political representatives call for an end to the armed attacks that have claimed four lives in the last six months.

Mr Murray was shot in his car around 10pm as he responded to a bogus call for a Chinese takeaway.

Police believe the 54-year-old was lured to his death by a call made from a telephone box at the junction of the Antrim Road and Cliftonville Road.

Mr Murray was shot in the face at point-blank range at his Antrim Road home in April last year.

The murder bid followed another attempt on his life when he was shot several times in his car by the Continuity IRA. He had previously spoken out to deny any involvement in criminality.

His murder was the third gun attack to take place in Belfast within 24 hours.

A teenager was shot in the north of the city just three hours before Mr Murray’s killing, and a man in his 20s was shot in an alleyway in the early hours of Monday.

Last night’s rally was advertised as a protest against “recent murders, attempted murders and maimings”.

The organisers said it “also reflects the growing anger and resilience in the face of 11 serious armed attacks across Belfast in the past six months in which four people have been murdered and several others, including a 17-year-old boy, seriously wounded.”

Among those who addressed the rally were Alex Attwood of the SDLP and Fra McCann of Sinn Fein.

Protest chairperson Conor Campbell said: “It is important that the community publicly displays its resilience in the face of these attacks and demonstrates its refusal to accept the rule of armed gangs across the city.”

Workers Party North Belfast representative Gemma Weir appealed for a united community response and called on the next justice minister at Stormont to convene and resource a ‘Community Forum Against Murder and Maiming’.

Ms Weir suggested such a body would be comprised of elected representatives, community groups, community representatives and voluntary organisations, as well as the PSNI and the Department of Justice.

She said it would act as a “united front” against the armed gangs.