The First and Deputy First Ministers have condemned the “savage killing” of a man in his 40s in West Belfast last night.
The killing took place in the Glenwood Court area of Poleglass shortly after 8pm on Thursday evening. The victim has been named locally as 43-year-old Joe Reilly.
First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness have issued a joint statement condemning the “senseless” amurder.
The Ministers said: “We unreservedly condemn the murder of a man shot dead in his home in Poleglass last night.
“This savage killing is senseless and has achieved nothing. The perpetrators care only for themselves.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the man’s family at this time and we urge anyone with any information to bring it to the PSNI immediately.”
Justice Minister Claire Sugden joined in the condemnation, saying: “I unreservedly condemn this appalling act and I offer my deepest sympathies to the family.
“Murder is an attack against our entire community and those responsible have no place in society while they continue to be involved in crime.
“I call on anyone with information to pass it to the police on the 101 number or to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”
Local SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said: ““I first want to convey my sympathy and condolences to the family and wider circle of the man brutally murdered last night. I know the people of West Belfast and beyond share in their sympathy for and stand in solidarity with the family.
“The voice of our condemnation has to be consistent and strong. At the scene last night there were many young people who, unlike previous generations will not have witnessed this brutality. We must say to younger generations and to all that an assault on the rule of law an assault on a citizen is an assault on us all.
“We have to deepen our culture of lawfulness. It starts with people with any information of value providing what they know to the police. Those responsible for last night must be identified, arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned. That is the work of today and the next number of days and we should all measure up.”
The UUP Justice spokesperson, Doug Beattie MLA, said: “It is quite clear that there are some in our society who are not willing to accept that the people of Northern Ireland want to live in a normalised society and they do not want to see guns on our streets. Whether you package them as paramilitaries, drug dealers or organised crime gangs, the truth is they are nothing more than criminals and must be treated as such. The senseless murder of Joe Reilly will not move our society forward one step and the recent punishment shootings do nothing but drive young and old out of our country.
“I have been working with the Justice Committee to scrutinise the Executive’s action plan to tackle Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime. It is essential that this plan amounts to more than a wish list full of wholesome plans with no real detail as to how to achieve its goals. We need concrete actions to help the many communities who need the help of the State to get these criminals removed from their midst.
“One of the outcomes of this action plan must be the removal of the cloak of ‘paramilitary grouping’, which is being used by some organisations who are clearly dealing in drugs, criminality and organised crime. That is why I have brought a motion to the Assembly for Monday that sets the conditions for ending the separated regime at HMP Maghaberry. This separated regime has given paramilitaries a centre of gravity, an identity and the ability to direct terrorism and paramilitary activity. Ending the regime will take away what credibility they think they have and let people see them for what they are - criminals.
“In the meantime as a family prepare to bury a loved one, it is vital that the Executive’s Action Plan for tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime is transformed into something that actually delivers. We must move our society forward and I will be vocal in my condemnation of all those who are holding us hostage to the past.”