Belfast Telegraph

Michael McGibbon murder: Vigil for victim of north Belfast attack held at Holy Cross

A vigil has been held for Michael McGibbon who died after being shot in north Belfast on Friday night.

Taxi driver Mr McGibbon (33) was shot three times in the legs in an alleyway in the Ardoyne area on Friday night - 24 hours after two men came to his house to threaten him.

His wife Joanne, a nurse, tried to save him before he was taken to the city's Royal Victoria Hospital, where he later died after undergoing surgery.

Speaking at Tuesday's vigil at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne, Joanne said: "The strength of this community will overtake anything that anyone who wants to destroy it has to do.

"If we all stay strong, we can stop these people. They can't beat us and it's not fair that families should have to go through this. They are not judge and jury."

Rector of Holy Cross, Fr Gary Donegan, said: "We're a proud community here. A community that has suffered and endured loss like no other in the history of this country.

"We have the home of Michael in the shadow of this church, but it was people who came from the shadows who chose to take his young life.

"We will not let those who live in the shadows empty us of our courage.

"This young widow showed more courage, compassion and mercy than you'll ever know."

Meanwhile the Orange Order's Ligoniel lodges said that they cancelled their protest on Tuesday evening as a 'mark of respect'.

Since 2013 Orangemen have paraded daily at 7.30pm, except Sunday, from the Twaddell camp up to police lines.

The Twaddell camp was still manned but no protest took place. PUP leader Councillor Billy Hutchinson welcomed the move.

Mr Hutchinson said: "This was a terrible and cowardly murder, and my thoughts and sincerest condolences go out to the family of Michael McGibbon.

"I very much welcome the efforts by the local Ligoniel Brethren to withdraw their protest this evening as the memorial service is conducted and as a mark of respect to the victim’s family.

"I would like to thank all those who have been involved in efforts to bring about this gesture."

There has been a regular police presence in the Twaddell area due to the protests which the PSNI estimates to have cost over £18million over the past three years.

Read more

1,000 days and £18m in policing costs later, the Orange Order is still defiant at Camp Twaddell 

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster stressed the need for information in the wake of the murder of father-of-four.

Mrs Foster's appeal came as another man was targeted in a paramilitary-style attack in Londonderry last night.

It is understood he was shot in both legs in McGowan Park in the Creggan estate at around 9pm. A spokesman for the Ambulance Service said he was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital for treatment but his condition was not clear.

Mrs Foster condemned Mr McGibbon's killers and insisted people in Ardoyne held the key to securing justice for his family.

"It is really shocking to hear of such a murder, and indeed the style in which it happened," she said.

"My deepest sympathy goes to the McGibbon family. The community in and around north Belfast hold the answers for the police in this matter.

"I would appeal to them to work with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to bring these people to justice."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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