The Bishop of Down and Connor has condemned the “violent and callous murder” of father-of-two Jim Donegan in west Belfast yesterday, saying the killing has left the local community in “shock and distress.”
Mr Donegan, 43, was gunned down outside St Mary’s Grammar School on the Glen Road as he sat in his car waiting to collect his teenage son.
Speaking at the West Belfast Primary Schools’ Festival of Carols in St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast this evening, Bishop Noel Treanor said: “During this season of Advent, as we look forward to message of joy and peace encountered in the Christ-child of Bethlehem, the beauty and message of these carols stands in marked contrast to the violent and callous murder of Jim Donegan that took place on the Glen Road outside school premises yesterday afternoon.
“Witnessing this traumatic scene has left family members, young people and the wider community in shock and distress. There is no place in a civilised society for such vicious and hostile actions which endanger the lives of all within the community, especially the children and young people who were making their way home from the safety of their schools. Such an attack on life is totally alien to the widespread desire for a stable and peaceful society.”
He continued: “There is no doubt that the graphic scene witnessed yesterday will have a lasting legacy and impact on all who were present. I particularly pay tribute to the heroic work of the principals and staff of these local schools and others within the community in responding immediately, professionally and pastorally to ensure the safety and welfare of their pupils, colleagues and bystanders. I also pay tribute to the PSNI and emergency services who attended to this disturbing and traumatic incident.
“I would like to assure the members of the Donegan family, his relatives and friends, of our continued prayerful support as they mourn Jim’s tragic death.
“Finally, I urge anyone who has information in relation to this incident to bring it to the attention of the PSNI.”
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