Belfast Telegraph

Michael McGibbon murder: Family heartbreak as funeral held for Belfast taxi driver

The funeral of a taxi driver Michael McGibbon who died after being shot has taken place in Belfast.

Mr McGibbon was blasted in the legs three times in a shooting by appointment thought to have been ordered by dissident republicans in an alleyway in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Friday.

It came 24 hours after two men threatened him at his house.

The 33-year-old later died in his wife Joanne's arms.

His remains left his house on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast for a 10am Requiem Mass at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne.

No-one has the right to act as "judge, jury and executioner" in a civilised society, a parish priest told the hundreds who gathered to say farewell to Michael McGibbon.

Father Eugene McCarthy described Mr McGibbon as a "good family man" who always put others before himself.

"We are very aware that Michael's young life ended abruptly as a result of a so-called punishment shooting in an alleyway near his home in the shadow of this historic church," he said.

Ahead of the service Mr McGibbon's widow Joanne and her four children - Seana, Shea, Michaela and Corry Leigh - knelt by his coffin before it was carried into the church.

Inside the church, Fr McCarthy praised the dignity with which the family had borne their loss.

"I want to assure them that the vast majority of people here in Ardoyne and beyond this parish are with them, standing strong with them against those who live in the shadows and emerge from the shadows to perpetrate foul deeds which deprived a wife of her husband, children of their daddy, a father of his son and siblings of a brother," he said.

The priest said Mr McGibbon had experienced problems in life.

"Michael by his own admission wasn't perfect, he had struggles in life," he said.

"But let's put it very clearly - he didn't deserve to die in the manner that all of that happened to him."

He added: "No human being has the right to act as judge, jury and executioner and thus deprive another human being of his God-given life."

Fr McCarthy said the scourge of paramilitary attacks had to end and those responsible for the "violence and mayhem" must see the error of their ways.

"The death of Michael McGibbon marks another block on the road to lasting peace and reconciliation," he said.

"Thank God for the peace we have, but remember it's very fragile and needs to be nurtured."

Speaking previously Joanne told UTV: "I tried so hard to save him, but at the end, he spoke to his mummy and he looked up there and he smiled and I knew she was with him."

"I'll remember him as who he was - just a fantastic husband and a fantastic father," she said.

"He would have done anything for us and he proved it that night." Mrs McGibbon said the support from across the community had helped her deal with her loss, especially at a vigil on Tuesday night.

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