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

Published 21/04/2016

Joanne McGibbon during the funeral of Michael McGibbon at Holy Cross Church in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Thursday morning. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Joanne McGibbon during the funeral of Michael McGibbon at Holy Cross Church in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Thursday morning. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Joanne McGibbon with her children during the funeral of Michael McGibbon at Holy Cross Church in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast on Thursday Morning.
The funeral of Michael McGibbon at Holy Cross Church in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast on Thursday Morning.
The funeral of Michael McGibbon at Holy Cross Church in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast on Thursday Morning.
Press Eye Ltd Thursday 21st April 2016 - The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye Ltd Thursday 21st April 2016 - The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Funeral of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in Ardoyne in north Belfast last Friday. The 33-year-old father was shot in a punishment style shooting dying from his wounds later in hospital. Michael McGibbon's wife Joanne and his children follow his coffin as it leaves the family home on the Crumlin Road for Requiem Mass in Holy Cross Church near by. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 19th April 2016 Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Seana McGibbon joins members of the public at a vigil in the grounds of Holy Cross Church, Ardoyne, in support of the family of taxi driver and father-of-four Michael McGibbon who was shot dead in North Belfast at the weekend.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 20th April 2016 Funeral of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in Ardoyne in north Belfast last Friday. The 33-year-old father was shot in a punishment style shooting dying from his wounds later in hospital. Michael McGibbon's family follow his coffin as it leaves the family home on the Crumlin Road for Requiem Mass in Holy Cross Church near by. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Michael McGibbon
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 20th April 2016 Funeral of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in Ardoyne in north Belfast last Friday. The 33-year-old father was shot in a punishment style shooting dying from his wounds later in hospital. Michael McGibbon's family follow his coffin as it leaves the family home on the Crumlin Road for Requiem Mass in Holy Cross Church near by. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Michael McGibbon and wife Joanne
The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Mr McGibbon's wife Joanne McGibbon. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Joanne McGibbon
The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Mr McGibbon's wife Joanne McGibbon. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye Ltd Thursday 21st April 2016 - The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Mr McGibbon's wife Joanne McGibbon. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Mr McGibbon's wife Joanne McGibbon. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Mr McGibbon's wife Joanne McGibbon. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye Ltd Thursday 21st April 2016 - The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye Ltd Thursday 21st April 2016 - The funeral mass takes place at Holy Cross in North Belfast of Michael McGibbon, who was murdered in the Ardoyne area of the city last Friday evening. Mr McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in his legs in an alleyway at Butler Place. Photo Matt Mackey / Press Eye

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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