SENIOR dissident republican chief Danny McClean was shot dead tonight in north Belfast over an internal drug feud.

The 53-year-old from Lagmore Gardens in West Belfast was shot up to five time outside a pub.

Initial police inquiries are focusing on a possible internal row inside dissident republican group Oglaigh na hEireann’ over a drugs feud.

In January 2019, he received a one-year sentence over the assault on an alleged drug dealer in a house secretly bugged by MI5.

Three months later, he was arrested and charged after police stopped a car in Dunmurry and found him to be in possession of a gun.

He was also charged with membership of a proscribed organisation, ONH, and possession of documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

McClean was initially remanded in custody but was subsequently granted bail.

Tonight, the PSNI said part of the Cliftonville Road was closed and a number of diversions were put in place.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it dispatched one rapid response paramedic, two emergency crews and an ambulance officer to the incident.

It said that following initial assessment, all ambulance resources cleared the scene and no patients were taken from the scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said: “We received a report around 8.15 pm, that a man had been shot in the Cliftonville Road area of the city.

“Officers attended, along with colleagues from NIAS.

“Sadly, a man has been pronounced dead.

“We would urge anyone who was in the area at the time or who may have any information which may assist us with our inquiries to contact 101 or alternatively information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin said the community was deeply shocked by the incident.

“There are reports that a man has been shot and injured in the Cliftonville Road area of North Belfast,” she said.

“The local community are deeply shocked by this incident.

“I am appealing to any witnesses to this shooting to come forward to police and assist their investigation.”

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker described the attack as “brutal”.

“I utterly condemn the shooting of a man on the Cliftonville Road area of North Belfast,” he said.

“This is horrific news for a family to receive and the wider community is rightly shocked.

“Those responsible for this shooting have absolutely nothing to offer our community and local residents should be allowed to live their lives without the threat of violence.

“The community does not support these actions. There is no place for violence on our streets.

“An attack of this nature is senseless and horrific at any time, but particularly in the context of a global pandemic that has left our health and emergency services under huge pressure.”

He appealed for anyone with information about the attack to contact police.

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