Victim of shooting was playing games with a nephew (8)

By Ciara Quinn

A WEST Belfast man is in a stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital after he was shot twice in the chest on Monday night.

37-year-old father-of-three Noel Donnelly had been staying in his sister’s Oranmore Street home in the Clonard area for the previous fortnight. Masked gunmen burst into the house at around 10pm and shot him as he sat in the kitchen playing video games with his eight-year-old nephew. Anoter nephew of the victim, Paul Owens – who was elsewhere in the house when the attack took place – said his schoolboy brother was “lucky to be alive”.

“I had just came out of the bathroom when I heard two shots fired,” said Paul. “I heard boom-boom like that and knew straight away what it was. The men had come in through the front door and I ran out to the landing, Noel was calling for help, clutching his chest, and asking for me to phone an ambulance.”

Paul told the Andersonstown News that those who carried out the attack had come to the house with one thing on their mind – “and that was murder”.

“We could have been looking at two funerals here,” he said. “There was a child sitting there, it was diabolical, sadistic and absolute madness to come into someone’s home and do that with a kid sitting there.”

The family don’t know why Mr Donnelly was targeted, but it is believed dissident republicans were behind the attack.

Sinn Féin Councillor Jim McVeigh said those who carried out the attack have no support in the area.

“This shooting of a young man in Oranmore Street is totally wrong and must be condemned,” he said. “This was the work of a criminal gang who try to masquerade as republicans. Those behind this attack do not represent anyone. They should stop this type of behaviour immediately. They almost killed an eight-year-old child.”

SDLP Councillor Tim Attwood described the attack as “a truly depraved act”.

“My thoughts are with the victim and his family as he undergoes treatment in hospital,” said Cllr Attwood. “The people of West Belfast don’t want this. They don’t want guns on our streets or people put in hospital by those taking the law into their own hands. We will not be dragged back to that.

“I would encourage anyone with any information to contact the police as soon as possible and help bring these dangerous thugs to justice.”

Detective Inspector Jenna Fitzpatrick said police are appealing for anyone with any information, anyone who witnessed the incident or any suspicious vehicles in the area to contact detectives in West Belfast on the non-emergency number 101.

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