Loyalist shot in Carrickfergus named locally

Heavily armed specialist police raid a house near the scene of a shooting in Carrickfergus. Photo: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Heavily armed specialist police raid a house near the scene of a shooting in Carrickfergus. Photo: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

A loyalist shot and critically wounded in Carrickfergus on Monday afternoon has been named locally as Geordie Gilmore Snr.

The attack took place in Pinewood Avenue around 2.15pm when up to five shots are reported to have been fired at the victim.

Heavily armed specialist police officers raided the house of a suspect not far from the scene later in the afternoon.

The murder attempt is being linked to a long-running paramilitary feud in the area.

Police have voiced concern that firearms have been discharged in a residential area during daylight hours when children were in the vicinity.

A serious assault on a doorman at the Royal Oak bar in the town on Saturday night has also been linked to the feud involving members of the local UDA and a rival group.

Writing on his Facebook page the day after the bar attack, Geordie Gilmore posted a message mocking claims he was involved.

The 44-year-old wrote: “Haha just heard I’m getting the blame for the oak last night and I’m arrested and in police custody..well I wasn’t there and I’m not arrested.”

His final post a short time later said: “The days of the UDA putting people out of Carrick are over.”

Several homes have been attacked in the Carrick and south east Antrim areas in recent years and a number of other violent incidents have been linked to the feud – including a 100-strong UDA-linked gang surrounding the shooting victim’s home in the Glenfield estate last July.

On Monday, PSNI Superintendent Darrin Jones said: “While the investigation is still at an early stage police are following significant lines of inquiry and I would appeal to anyone who has information about today’s attack to contact us.

“Firearms being discharged in a residential area, particularly during daylight hours when children are in the vicinity, is concerning. We need the community to give us the information needed so we can remove the dangerous individuals who carried out this attack from our streets and put them before a court of law.”

Supt Jones appealed for anyone with information to contact police on 101, or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson condemned the shooting, and the attack on the pub doorman, and said he feared the incidents signified “a serious escalation in an intra paramilitary dispute”.

He said: “As a result fear has been brought back into communities and there is a real danger of people with no association with this long-running dispute being caught up in the crossfire and the violence.

“In the meantime considerable police resources are again being absorbed to deal with this violence and the communities in which this is happening are experiencing all the disruption of heavy security presence.”

Mr Wilson added: “There is little point in appealing to those involved to cease their activities. They have shown no regard for the impact of their activities in the past but I would hope that the law would be enforced vigorously in order to bring those involved to justice.”

On Monday night a spokeswoman for the Belfast Health Trust said the victim was “critically ill” in the RVH.