Drugs gangs seeking to spread fear in Belfast
Drugs gangs seeking to spread fear in Belfast


Senior republicans in north Belfast have been told by the PSNI that they are under threat from criminals following the murder of former IRA commander Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison.

A list of people including prominent Provisional republicans Eddie Copeland and Sean Kelly, and even a 12-year-old schoolboy, have now been warned by the PSNI over potential ‘revenge’ attacks by criminals.

A respected community worker, Mr Davison was shot in the head and chest as he walked to work along Welsh Street on Tuesday, May 5th. The 47 year-old was shot in the chest and head last week as he made his way to work at a community centre in the Markets area of the Belfast.

It is understood the shooting was motivated by his involvement in the republican armed group Direct Action Against Drugs during a time when that organisation took on at least nine major drug dealers. It is feared that the drugs gangs may be seeking to reassert their power bases in the wake of the murder.

Republicans across Belfast are on high alert for further revenge attacks. Three people arrested last week have already been released without charge, and public faith in the PSNI investigation is low. Meetings have been held across the city by people concerned that they might also be vulnerable to similar attacks.

Astonishingly, the mother of a child from north Belfast has also been warned by the PSNI that her son is under threat from criminals. Although the child’s father, of the same name, is a prominent republican, the PSNI last week denied that there had been a mix-up over the name.

At just twelve years of age, he is thought to be the youngest person in the Six Counties to have received an official death threat.

“At first I thought there was a mistake and that the threat was for his father who has the same name,” his mother said.

“But when I asked police if they sure, they read out my son’s date of birth. I’m trying to play it down and keep things at home as normal as possible because I don’t want to frighten the children any more than necessary but it’s putting us all under terrible stress.

“He is only a child. I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would send him a threat. It’s very worrying.”


Last week, senior Sinn Fein members were among hundreds of republicans who attended the funeral of murdered former IRA leader Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison.

Mr Davison’s remains were taken to the republican plot at Milltown Cemetery on Saturday after a short service in his Markets area of the city.

A lone piper led the cortege through the district while a guard of honour flanked his coffin, which was draped in an Irish tricolour and carried a black beret and gloves.

Senior republicans, including Bobby Storey and Sean ‘Spike’ Murray, helped carry his coffin while Sinn Fein figures including Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey joined hundreds of mourners who lined the narrow streets. Eddie Copeland was a close friend of the murder victim and also carried the coffin during the funeral.

The procession paused at the spot where the father-of-three was killed at the junction of Lower Stansfield Street and Welsh Street. His remains later travelled along the Falls Road on the way to Milltown Cemetery where more mourners had gathered.

A vigil in memory of Mr Davison was held in the Markets on Friday night.

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