Belfast Killing: Possible Jock Davison Link, Did IRA Do It?

Ed Moloney ponders the murder of former republican prisoner, Kevin McGuigan, who was shot dead last night in East Belfast. Ed Moloney blogs @ The Broken Elbow.        

The Irish News is reporting late tonight that the dead man has been named locally as Kevin McGuigan. The victim has the same name as the figure accused by the IRA of killing Jock Davison.


The Irish Times does not have the McGuigan killing on the front page of its internet edition as of 8.26 pm, EDT, 1.26 am GMT. A story inside is by the Press Association, not a staffer. This used to be a newspaper. The BBC NI webpage leads with the incident but has no details about the victim. At least they recognise it is an important story.

Initial reports from Belfast are speculating that the 50-year old man shot dead in the Catholic Short Strand area of Belfast last night might have been the figure blamed by the IRA for the gunning to death of one of their leading members, Jock Davison in early May this year.

Davison, a prominent IRA figure in the city, was shot dead in clinical fashion from behind as he walked to work in the Markets area of Belfast. Davison was a leading suspect in the stabbing murder of Robert McCartney whose savage killing in 2005 caused a crisis in the peace process for the Provos, especially in their dealings with a Bush administration in Washington already furious about the Northern Bank robbery; the White House withdrew a funding visa from Gerry Adams in retaliation.

Jock Davison's funeral in Belfast attracted a significant contingent of IRA mourners.
Don’t mess with these guys! Jock Davison’s funeral in Belfast attracted a significant contingent of IRA mourners.
Davison’s funeral was attended by many leading IRA figures, including the organisation’s chief of intelligence, Bobby Storey, an indication of the respect he was held in by the Provo hierarchy.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the Short Strand killing but if the IRA is suspected, and the victim does turn out to be the alleged killer of Davison, there will be an inevitable political controversy over the continued existence and capability of the IRA, notwithstanding the peace process and supposed decommissioning of IRA weapons.

In the past when the IRA wished to disguise its part in violence it used cover names, notably Direct Action Against Drugs. In the past week a group calling itself ‘Action Against Drugs’ emerged in the columns of The Irish News, threatening alleged drug dealers.

The figure accused of killing Davison has himself been labelled a drug-dealer,which may mean only that he has offended the group, or its sponsors, in other ways.

Whatever the truth about last night’s killing the incident shows that violence is never far from the surface in Northern Ireland, peace process or no peace process.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

21 comments to ''Belfast Killing: Possible Jock Davison Link, Did IRA Do It?"

  1. Did the PIRA do it? Do polar bears s**t in a desert?

  2. This is just rumour publicity seeking to be honest without any real substance or facts. Ed lets himself down with "headline grabbing" in my opinion. But, then again he is journalist and all publicity is good publicity, I suppose if you want to manipulate the media for PR and refocus peoples attention to what you have to say.

    It is the oldest trick on the book, maybe he feels the spotlight on him somehow shifted, who knows. I know if he had a source he would have said.

  3. James,

    what did he actually state in the article other than to ask the question? It is a question on the lips of many people. Other journalists have actually been more forthright in what they wrote - look at the Bel Tel or Guardian, for example. It is a question that needs seriously put to the PSNI. If a journalist does not ask the obvious they are obviously not doing a good job.

  4. One of the things that had been puzzling me about the various current republican organisations was why they were so reluctant to openly challenge the Provos. They regard them as traitors, and the lowest of the low for selling out yet they have never tried to take them on in places were they are waning like Derry or Ardoyne. I think this shooting explains that one very cearly indeed. The Provos haven't gone away and anyone who attacks their members can expect to be shot dead in short order.

    Anyone who listens to BBC programmes like Nolan or Talkback will be well aware of how they spent days talking about bonfires or flags, but TB spent a full hour today talking about ID cards and the rest of the programme talking about Jeremy Corbyn. All arms of the state will be instructed to play this murder down as much as possible. The recent appearance of "Action Against Drugs" was very convenient indeed.

  5. Cue Bono,

    If you go back to the late '90s and then forward, you see a very definite pattern of threats and use of violence (including killings) by PIRA directed toward those involved in dissident groups. The most public was the assassination of Joe O'Connor in Ballymurphy in 2000.

    Subsequent killings (Gareth O'Connor in 2003; Robert McCartney in 2005; Paul Quinn in 2007) have kept the threat alive. So too have comments from leading Republicans. See Brian Rowan's reporting on the reaction to alleged dissident threats to Seamus Finucane in 2011.

    Rowan wrote in the BelTel on Feb. 23, 2011: "All sorts of thin lines were being walked. One source, commenting on the likely implications of any attack on Seamus Finucane, or any other mainstream Republican figure, commented: ‘They [the dissidents] would be swatted like flies.’ And that comment tells you that the IRA could be resurrected. … What would happen if they attacked a senior Republican? They know the answer to that question. ‘The gear [guns] would be out,’ one of them told me."

  6. AM,

    To be fair, I read the above article before I seen the mainstream news/media coverage of the issue. You are right, I suppose, he only asked the question, I in my shortcomings thought he had just plucked the article out of thin air, as I had not been tuned into my normal daily morning misinformation installment from the press, therefore having one of those skeptical moments that I frequently have in relation to all journalists these days.

    "Jumping in with two feet" is not my normal MO, but there you go, I would never be that insecure to say I got it wrong, maybe, there is indeed something in it.

    To add further speculation, it would be interesting to see if the gun used was similar to the one that was supplied by Mike Logan.

    But, I would suggest that maybe that angle was covered before the operation, if indeed the Provisional movement did undertake the killing. I am sure it will all come out, someone always talks just enough, I bet the spooks know who done it. It reminds me of the old quote,about best keeping a secret:

    “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack

  7. Ed, I understand where you are coming from but to imply the PIRA were involved is (IMO) wrong...The PIRA as an organization wound up with Seanna Walsh's message

  8. Frankie,

    and yet, Paul Quinn.

  9. Frankie,

    I think the myth of no PIRA is as great as the myth of Adams having never been in it. Same as the full decommissioning myth.

  10. Anthony, I have factored in that former members of the PIRA were involved in the brutal murder of Paul Quinn etc...But the moment Seanna Walsh read that statement the PIRA ceased to exist.

    That doesn't mean republicans associated with PSF haven't got access to arms. Neither are they afraid to "flex" their muscle but as an outsider the PIRA don't exist.

  11. Frankie,

    but why would it have ceased to exist? Should there be any more truth to the statement that it does not exist than there was to the statement that it did not kill Joe O'Connor or was not responsible for the DAAD killings?

  12. Catherine McCartney, (scroll/FF until 1hr 40min 40seconds until 1hr 47mins)... giving her views about the recent murders of Kevin McGuigan and Gerald Davison and who she thinks is responsible.

    Brian Rowan gives his views on the recent murders...

    "It sounds to me as if 'they haven't gone away you know' " UUP's Mike Nesbitt on IRA

  13. frankie, I listened to the Catherine McCartney interview, so the Kevin McGuigan wasnt the even prime suspect in Davisons killing? Its interesting, because the Davison death was remarkably fortuitious for two Republicans on trial for membership, it collapsed days after.

  14. Clearly the shinners have retained a 'Death Squad' a sort of Murder Inc but the question is, how closely connected to the British security services are they?

  15. My sympathies to George Hamilton and family. You have been made to look a right eejit.

  16. Three "interviews" from last nights ...

    Radio Ulster Evening Extra

    The first interview starts at 3mins 40seconds...Vincent Kearney (RU's Home Affairs reporter)...

    Second piece starts at 12 mins 46seconds...Anthony McIntyre gives his analysis of the situation..

    Lastly Dennis Bradley airs his views and raises the same question Dixie made about a "murder inc" within PSF....

  17. Peter,

    I hadn't seen that quote from Brian Rowan before, but this murder certainly confirms what he was saying.

  18. Police link Provisional IRA to killing in Belfast

    Part of the piece reads like this.....

    "Det Supt Kevin Geddes said a major line of inquiry was that members of PIRA were involved.

    "Action Against Drugs as you may be aware made a public statement on 6 August that they would execute anybody who had any involvement or they believed had any involvement in the murder of Jock Davison," he added.

    "It is my assessment that Action Against Drugs are a group of individuals who are criminals, violent dissident republicans and former members of the Provisional IRA.

    "They are dangerous, they are involved in violence and extortion of the nationalist and republican communities and they have a criminal agenda."

    And it's (PSNI assessment) is contradictory...."My (Det Supt Kevin Geddes) assessment is that this is a separate group from the Provisional IRA. A major line of inquiry for this investigation is that ............members of the Provisional IRA were involved"

  19. Martin McGuinness

    The people who murdered Jock Davison are criminals.Those who murdered Kevin McGuigan are also criminals.They must be brought to justice.

  20. but why would it have ceased to exist? Should there be any more truth to the statement that it does not exist than there was to the statement that it did not kill Joe O'Connor or was not responsible for the DAAD killings

    In the same way, for lots of reasons, Directors of companies close down a firm (tax dodge, they go into liquidation...) and the following morning they open up a new firm, re-employing key personnel from the previous firm.

    I believe the Provisionals murdered Joe O'Connor. I believe it was sanctioned by the Provisionals at Army Council level. I reckon it went something like this.

    A few Belfast Republicans said to their OC, "What are we going to do about O'Connor?" Their OC went to "Belfast Brigade level" who went to Army Council who "gave the nod" to murder Joe O'Connor. And the sheeple bought into the official line that Joe O'Connor's murder was "OK" because it was simply house keeping. While the murders of Paul Quinn and Robert McCartney where like "Bloody Friday", PR disaster's for the PRM and Irish Republicanism, forcing the leadership of the PRM to "wind up" (although I have to throw into the mix what yourself and other's said how things would pan out year's before).

    And when Seanna Walsh asked all volunteer's to "drop arms", he was referring to "operators" such as Gerry 'Whitey' Bradley and not the "civil administration" who were by and large hand picked by the PSF/PRM leadership and "yes men."

    "Why would it have ceased to exist".....

    PSF knew it was counter productive to continue "the long war", not because it didn't advance Irish Republicanism but PSF's bank balance. And in the process of PSF putting "PIRA PLC." into receivership, they pulled off the Northern Bank robbery and a few key personnel got "redundancy money" and then quickly re-employed under a new job description. While the vast majority of volunteers (on both sides of the oxymoron's) were left asking themselves "Exactly what were the last 25/30 odd year's about?"


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