Two men have been arrested after a man was shot while sitting beside his wife in a car in Northern Ireland on Thursday morning.
The victim was in a critical condition after he was wounded in his upper body in the attack in republican west Belfast. Named locally as Martin Garvin, the target of the shooting was attacked by two men dressed as city council workers while in his car in the Shaws Road area of the city shortly before 9am.
The injured man, who is in his 40s, was shot in a black Vauxhall car which according to witnesses was “riddled with bullets”. He is understood to be a member of Ireland’s Traveller community.
The clinical way he was targeted and the fact the gunmen posed as council workers suggest a level of organisation that could only be carried out by either an armed criminal gang or one of the republican dissident factions that operate in west Belfast.
The shooting happened close to a local primary school just before pupils arrived for classes.
It has since emerged that Garvin was shot in the passenger seat while the female driver, believed to be his wife, drove on for a short distance before stopping and appealing for help.
Police Service of Northern Ireland Det Ch Insp Gary Reid said: “A man in his 40s sustained a gunshot wound to the upper body in an incident at Rossnareen Avenue shortly before 9am.
“He was taken from the scene by car, and then transferred to an ambulance at Shaw’s Road and brought to hospital.”
One local Sinn Féin representative said the shooting occurred in front of young children going to school. West Belfast assembly member Rosie McCorley said: “This morning’s shooting was wrong and I condemn it unreservedly. My first thoughts are obviously with the family of the man who has been shot and I hope that he makes a full recovery.
“The people who carried out this attack had no regard for the local community given that many people including children were heading to and from school and work at the time of the shooting. I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI immediately.”
The Sinn Féin MP for Belfast West, Paul Maskey, described the shooting incident as shameful.