‘2018 will be GFA’s 20th anniversary – these shootings must stop’

View along Cavendish Street, Belfast , with an IRA mural on a gable wall. Image: Google
View along Cavendish Street, Belfast , with an IRA mural on a gable wall. Image: Google

The SDLP have lamented the fact that a “brutal” shooting took place little more than a day away from the dawn of 2018 – a year which will mark two decades since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Four young children witnessed a man being shot three times in a paramilitary-style attack in west Belfast, police have said.

The children were in a house in the Cavendish Street area, just off the republican stronghold of the Falls Road, on Saturday evening when three men dressed in dark clothing forced their way in.

The gang struck a 28-year-old man over the head before shooting him in both knees and his right ankle with a handgun.

A female was also assaulted during the attack, which occurred at around 7.45pm.

The victim was taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries, which were understood to have been non-life threatening at the time.

The News Letter attempted to find out the condition of the man from the Belfast health trust on Sunday afternoon, but was unable to do so by time of writing.

The PSNI said in a statement: “This was a brutal attack in a busy residential area and yet another example of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence.

“The residents including young children have been left terrified by these events.”

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said: “I unequivocally condemn those behind this brutal attack in our City last night.

“As we celebrate the dawn of 2018 and the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement there can be no place for such brutal and violent attacks in our society.

“If we want to stop these people, we need to bring information forward to help the police take them off the streets. As a community we must stand together against violence.”