Belfast Telegraph

Murdered cabbie McGibbon's widow tells vigil: 'They will never beat us'

By Staff Reporter

The heartbroken widow of the father-of-four shot dead in north Belfast has urged the community to stick together to beat the gunmen.

Michael McGibbon was shot in the leg by gunmen in the Ardoyne area on Friday night.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for killing the 33-year-old taxi driver, who bled to death close to his home as his wife tried desperately to save him.

Last night the victim's widow Joanne McGibbon and her four children attended an emotional vigil in the grounds of Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne.

The nurse courageously told the hundreds gathered that the strength of the community was greater than anything the gunmen trying to destroy them could offer.

"I think if we all stay strong we can stop these people, because we are stronger than them, and they can't beat us," she said.

"It's not fair that families have to go through this - they're not judge and jury."

Mrs McGibbon held a candle and her daughter Seana held a photo of her father as they were supported by Fr Gary Donegan and those who turned out to show their solidarity and applaud her powerful message.

The priest spoke of the heightened sense of fear he had felt in the community since the murder was carried out.

"It's the first I've ever experienced that," Fr Donegan told those assembled.

"If you were like I, and in that house earlier, watching those little ones with their pancakes and totally oblivious to the horror that's been visited upon them, but it isn't oblivious to their mother.

"We're not complicit in this, we're the opposite to this, we're everything that is good, and that is the message that we want to send out. Not just to the local community here but the broader community.

"Not in our name." Meanwhile, a daily loyalist protest was last night suspended for the first time as a mark of respect to Mr McGibbon.

Loyalists have been protesting every evening at Twaddell Avenue since July 12, 2013 when Orange lodges were refused permission to march along a contentious stretch of the Crumlin Road. PUP leader Billy Hutchinson welcomed the move by the Ligoniel lodges as the vigil for Mr McGibbon took place nearby.

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 as the memorial service is conducted and as a mark of respect to the victim's family."

Belfast Telegraph


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