Tuesday March 2, 2010

Derry Murder Blamed On Real IRA

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson requested that the family be allowed to grieve in private (Photocall)

Northern Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has blamed the Real IRA for shooting a man dead in Derry City last Wednesday night.

Kieran Doherty, 31, was from the Brandywell area in the city. He was due to get married in three months and had a two-year-old daughter.

His body was discovered, stripped and bound on Braehead Road, near the Irish border at about 10:30pm local time on Wednesday.

Mr McGuinness said the murder was a "dirty deed" and urged the community to cooperate with the police.

He added that the political movement linked to the Real IRA, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, should make a statement.

Police said Mr Doherty was last seen as he left home at about 8pm on Wednesday night.

At a press conference the police said they were unable to confirm whether he had then been abducted, or whether he had been shot at the spot where his body was later discovered.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison said the people who murdered Mr Doherty were criminals, who had destroyed not only the victim's life, but those of his partner and his young family as well.

Mr Harrison confirmed that Kieran Doherty was "known to police" but would not give any more details.

In November 2009 Mr Doherty gave an interview to the Derry Journal newspaper in which he claimed he had been approached by the security service MI5 while trying to set up a cigarette manufacturing company.

According to the paper, he was repeatedly turned down for a licence by Revenue and Customs and was then approached by an MI5 agent.

"I think the whole thing is a set up in order to try and recruit informers," he told the newspaper.

In January this year, Mr Doherty again contacted the same newspaper after the PSNI searched his home. The search came after €500,000 worth of cannabis was found in a house in County Donegal.

Mr Doherty told the newspaper that he had no involvement with the drugs and that the house belonged to a Republican prisoner whom he had met in Portlaoise prison.

It is understood that Mr Doherty was jailed on a robbery charge.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Doherty's family, Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson requested that the family be allowed to grieve in private.

"Kieran's partner Mairead and his family are traumatised and in deep shock at the sudden and brutal death of Kieran. They wish to be left to plan his return and burial in private and in support of each other," the MLA added.

Mr Doherty's murder has been condemned by local politicians and community leaders.

The Catholic Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty described the killing as "brutal".

He added: "Our society has a tragic history of violence. Due to this history, we, more than many other societies, should appreciate that any attempt to drag us back to a bloody past is wrong.

"A peaceful society depends upon normal policing and justice. We have taken great strides in that direction."

Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Rev Ken Good, said people in the town are in shock.

"Right across the community, there is a clear sense of revulsion that another brutal murder has been carried out in this city.  The horrific manner in which the victim's body was left at the roadside by those who perpetrated the crime is a further cause for shock and outrage," he said.

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