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Murder victim's widow 'sickened' as gun gang shoots man in both feet

By David Young

Published 10/06/2016

Joanne McGibbon (right) with her daughter at the vigil for her murdered husband Michael
Joanne McGibbon (right) with her daughter at the vigil for her murdered husband Michael

The widow of a man gunned down by dissident republicans has spoken of her revulsion after another shooting was carried out near her home as she denounced paramilitary bullies on television.

Joanne McGibbon (33) is the widow of Michael McGibbon, who died after he was shot in the leg close to the couple’s north Belfast home in April.

She said she felt “sickened” after hearing that another savage attack had been carried out near the Ardoyne home she now wants to leave.

On Wednesday night, Ms McGibbon was on BBC One telling the Nolan Show of the pain her family had endured as a result of her husband’s murder in Butler Place.

At the same time, just shortly before 11pm, a 36-year-old man was walking along Jamaica Road in the direction of Ardoyne Road when he was confronted by three men. They dragged him into an alley and shot him twice in each foot. The victim was taken to hospital for treatment for injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

The three attackers were described as wearing dark clothing and having their faces covered with scarves.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Mrs McGibbon said that the whole community was living in terror, too frightened to speak out for fear of who might be next.

“Everyone is terrified,” she added. “Everyone is totally against all this, but they’re afraid to speak up.

“It’s terrible. It’s bad enough just trying to grieve knowing that you are still here with all this going on around you.”

The threat to local people is increasing, she said, despite the efforts of the authorities to combat the problem.

Parish priest Fr Gary Donegan, who was recently threatened by dissident republicans, previously said more than 40 people in Ardoyne had been warned in the past few weeks.

“There’s a lot of it going on,” Ms McGibbon told this paper. “There’s been more threats to people. I think that there has been a lot of people threatened.

“I’ve heard friends saying there have even been threats to women in their 60s.”

Ms McGibbon added she felt the authorities had been ineffective in confronting and dealing with the reign of terror that was continuing in the Ardoyne community.

She acknowledged the sheer scale of the problem facing the police, and told how the climate of fear prevented people from speaking out.

“I don’t know what they are going to do,” Ms McGibbon said. “They’ll have to evacuate everyone from the area, what with these idiots going about killing everyone.”

She added she was “sickened” by the fact that the latest shooting was carried out at around the same time she was renewing her call for an end to the punishment shootings that claimed her husband’s life.

But she vowed that she would not be silenced and said: “You feel as though you’re on your own fighting the battle and nobody else is standing with you. That’s the way it feels.”

Detective Inspector Mary White appealed for anyone with information about the Wednesday night shooting in Jamaica Road in north Belfast to contact the PSNI.

Belfast Telegraph

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