L’IRA RIVENDICA L’OMICIDIO DI KEVIN KEARNEY
A republican group calling itself ‘the IRA’ has admitted responsibility for the murder of a man found dead in north Belfast yesterday, named locally as Kevin Kearney.
The victim, who was in his 40s and was a father of four, lived close to Alexandra Park where his body was found yesterday.
In a statement issued to The Irish News, ‘the IRA’ said the deceased was shot after the group carried out an investigation “in response to complaints within our community”.
Mr Kearney is the second person to be killed by the dissident organisation, following the murder of prison officer David Black in November 2012.
The latest IRA grouping emerged last year as a pull-together of several factions. These include the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) and a number of “unaffiliated” dissident figures.
Friends said Mr Kearney had been missing since yesterday morning. It is understood the man’s partner raised the alarm when he did not return home after taking his dogs for a walk through the park which is close to the Antrim Road.
A post mortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death.
A spokesman for the PSNI said detectives from the serious crime branch were appealing for anyone who was in the park between 8.30am and 9.30am yesterday to get in contact.
Justice Minister David Ford has said that nothing can justify the murder of another human being.
“I want to offer my deepest sympathies to the family of the man who has been brutally murdered in Belfast,” he said.
“There can be no justification whatsoever for taking a life and no excuse those carrying out this murder can offer will fill the void in his family.
“No paramilitary group has the right to judge our citizens and carry out their perverse view of justice.”
MP for the North Belfast, Nigel Dodds described the murder as appalling.
“The body was found in suspicious circumstances and the police have launched a murder investigation,” he said. “The entire community will share in the sense of shock at this appalling news. I understand that the identity of the deceased is known to the police.
“Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased. I appeal for anyone who can assist the police investigation to pass on whatever information they have.”
Alexandra Park is divided by a three-metre tall peace wall which was erected in 1994 to prevent sectarian fighting between nationalists in the Antrim Road and loyalists on the Shore Road. In September 2011 a gate linking the two communities was opened for the first time.
The lake is located at the upper end of the park close to the Antrim Road.
SDLP councillor Pat Convery who chairs the north Belfast community safety partnership has urged anyone with information to come forward.
He said: “This is a very tragic event. My thoughts and prayers are with the man’s family. I would appeal for anyone who has any information that could help further the investigation to notify the police.”
Democratic Unionist councillor Guy Spence said the community was stunned by the grim discovery.
“Something like this comes as a great shock. I am sure the local community will join with me in sharing our thoughts and prayers with the family of the individual involved.
“It is a surprise that in such a public place something as horrid as this could be discovered.
“I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it to the police or speak anonymously to Crimestoppers.