21 January 2006

Comments on ‘killing’ spark row

Daily Ireland

By Ciarán Barnes


An SDLP assembly member has been branded “insensitive” after he described a west Belfast suicide as a “killing”.
On Thursday evening, Shankill Road man Joseph Croft blasted himself with a shotgun.
He died in hospital several hours later.
The 22-year-old is believed to have shot himself after breaking up with his girlfriend.
Yesterday afternoon, Belfast West SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood released a statement on the incident in which he “condemned” the “Shankill killing”.
Mr Attwood want on to refer to it as a “terrible thing”, “shocking”, and a “horrendous event”.
Shankill community workers immediately condemned the SDLP man’s description of the events. They accused him of making political capital out of the situation.
Chris McGimpsey, a former Ulster Unionist Party councillor for the area, said Mr Attwood should get his facts right.
“This was not a feud killing. It had absolutely nothing to do with any paramilitary organisation.
“The SDLP is trying to make capital out of what is a tragic situation.
“This young lad died by his own hand.
“Politicians should be expressing condolences at this time instead of making clearly political statements,” he said.
Mr Attwood was unavailable for further comment.
Democratic Unionist Party assembly member Diane Dodds, who represents the Shankill area, offered her condolences to the Croft family.
“I am sorry to hear that a family finds itself grieving today and my thoughts go out to them,” she said.
Friends of Mr Croft told how his former partner, thought to be in her late teens, was devastated by what had happened.
One said yesterday: “They had fallen out and she moved back in with her family.
“Joe phoned her last night and said he was going to shoot himself.
“She got her stepfather to go round to his house, and they think he was still alive when they arrived.”

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