Anger as Real IRA warns community worker to leave
Dissident republicans have told a senior community worker in west Belfast to leave the country within 48 hours.
Jim Donnelly, chair of the Upper Springfield Integrated Partnership, has been told that he is under threat from the Real IRA.
Gerry McConville, chair of the West Belfast Partnership Board, called on criminal gangs and paramilitary groups to end their campaign of threats and intimidation against community workers.
"The PSNI visited the home of Mr Donnelly on Halloween night and told him he was under threat from the Real IRA who wanted him out of the province within 48 hours," said Mr McConville.
"Jim makes a positive contribution to the life of these communities on a daily basis, unlike the thugs behind this latest threat."
Mr McConville said the threat to Mr Donnelly was the latest in a long line of threats against local community workers.
"Community workers all over the west of the city are increasingly alarmed at the threats from people involved in extortion, drugs and criminality," said Mr McConville. "These threats should stop and stop now."
Donal McKinney, director of the Upper Springfield Development Trust, said he was shocked that Mr Donnelly's life had been threatened.
"Jim is the manager of Active Communities Network," he said.
"The faceless thugs behind this threat should withdraw it immediately."
Harry Maguire of Community Restorative Justice Ireland also called for the threat to be lifted.
"CRJI is supporting the call for the threat against Jim Donnelly to be lifted and for an end to what seems to be a campaign of intimidation being waged against community workers," he said.