Updated: Former IRA man Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison shot dead in South Belfast…

Well, we generally don’t do news items these days, but this is a potentially interesting* development. Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison has been shot dead in a south Belfast street.

Mr Davison is from a large Republican family and was one of those suspected of involvement in the killing Robert McCartney. The timing and the nature of the killing are just plain odd.

To paraphrase the academic Diego Gambetta it looks like “criminals of the honest sort” are sending signals.

* This particular choice of language has triggered a strong emotional reaction in many who feel it was insensitive framing so shortly after the man’s killing. My actual personal view is here.

Additional comment:

I must admit that I’ve been somewhat puzzled by the idea people (and more than just a few individuals) have assumed I was referring to the deceased in my use of the Gambetta quote.

That it  comes on the anniversary of Bobby Sands’ death means it also could be seen as some kind of calculated insult on top of insult. At risk of demonstrating the folly of going to print too hastily, let me try to clarify.

It was not my intention to signal what some in the comment zone have referred to as Ordinary Decent Criminals (ODCs) as it is commonly interpreted in NI. Rather Gambetta’s seminal work focuses on how people communicate in areas beyond the law.

It includes politicians, security agencies and even authorities in higher education, as well as organised crime. The quote comes from chapter one of Codes of the Underworld, which discusses how people acting outside the law often resort to action rather than words, which can be broken or gone back on.

Now granted, I did leave that open to a lot of interpretation, and accordingly it may have been a mistake not to have taken more time to iron out and make clear exactly what I meant by it.

But in fact contrary to ascribing blame to the victim (which I know has become pretty commonplace in Belfast politics recently), I thought I was pointing to the perpetrators.

It was a clumsy and thoughtless form of wording. I genuinely apologise for any offence, given or taken.

  • Gingray

    Aye it’s what he does. Adds nothing, but it’s an effective tactic I suppose

  • Gingray

    Chris, Slugger had a multitude of blogs about the murder of Robert Mccartney, you seem to think he murdered him, does that not suffice?

    I don’t like the eye for an eye nonsense, nor dancing on the grave of one’s enemies. Each to their own.

  • aor26

    ”Although it is becoming clear now that this was neither a loyalist or a dissident hit ” Do you think that is clear?? I am not so clear that is the case. I watched the press conference earlier where the policeman said that. No explanation was given as to why they think that.
    Personally, I have little faith in the PSNI. Take the enormous number of racist attacks over the last lot of years and the pitiful number of arrests and zero number of convictions. They are a fairly incompetent police force in my book and I would not be taking their word for it that neither loyalists or dissidents were involved in this mornings murder.

  • Cue Bono

    In my experience when the police are able to so quickly rule people it out it means that they have a pretty good idea who was to blame. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an arrest or arrests in the very near future.

  • Zeno

    Basically Gingray is lets say a fellow traveller of yours and he is trying to extract you from a tricky situation you got yourself into.
    You “contrasted ” an IRA Mans murder with that of a Policeman instead of the obvious which would have been a loyalist terrorist.
    I noticed earlier you were complaining to another poster about the use of the word “Senior” when the media have been using that description all day. You are clearly upset and looking for things to complain about.

  • Mirrorballman

    Not how I’d describe a brutal murder that happened barely an hour before. The origional post was crass and very insensitive. Even Mick has acknowledged that and apologised for it.

    You on the other hand have spent the day trolling as you seem to do on a daily basis here. Im sure you had an “interesting” day mulling over why a father and grandfather was brutally gunned down on our streets.

  • Practically_Family

    I have never hoped to “put behind us” the destruction of terrorists.

  • Jack Stone

    See, I felt like a jerk reading all these comments because while i feel sadness for the death of a man who renounced violence and turned his work to peace, I DO feel that this is interesting because it could lead to certain “community elements” with a common enemy. It could lead to the reopening of old wounds or it could be due to past actions or the actions of a perceived “victim”. This murder is a big story with far reaching implications no matter what the outcome.

  • Granni Trixie

    You are obviously new to these parts.

  • Granni Trixie

    I don’t know of the man at all but could “man who renounced violence and turned to work of peace” construction possibly be a myth? I say this because I constantly see and hear such people on radio promote Sf or PUP/Loyalists.
    Such branding can be strategically useful. As well as thinking of the mans family I was also thinking of the McCartneys who must have mixed feelings.

  • Jack Stone

    COULD is a very big word. I mean yes, Davison has a history of illegal organizations but he did not follow many of his former comrades into dissident activity. It’s a bit like saying Martin McGuinness’s working for peace could be a myth too. Heck Peter Robinson was once a member of an organization which ran guns to terrorists that were used in many sectarian murders, could his support of non-violent political process be a construction? it COULD. But without evidence, its baseless speculation. But that is part of what makes this story (and other crime stories, if I’m honest) interesting.

  • submariner

    Jude just so you know who you are dealing with Cue Bono is the banned poster Covenanter who also posts on other sites under the name Blair Mayne. He has an almost pathological hatred of anything Irish or Nationalist.Nothing you say will change that hate so i wouldn’t be wasting my time engaging with him. Google Blairmayne Debate central revisited for a taste of what he really thinks of Catholics/Nationalists if you have a strong stomach.

  • Dan

    Did I really read that Gerry Adams has ‘condemned’ the murder?
    I thought he wasn’t into the politics of condemnation.

  • Practically_Family

    I’ve heard he’s into comedy tweets now.

    And he likes rubber ducks.

  • chrisjones2

    Where is the evidence of me trolling?

    You have nothing to say so you attack me

    A father and grandfather perhaps – but also a former terrorist thug.We need to recognise the reality while deploring that even he didnt deserve this end.Why are you so keen to sweep that away?

  • chrisjones2

    “the death of a man who renounced violence and turned his work to peace”

    and whereis the evidence for that?

  • All the major reporters are now going with this line of thought.

  • g1980

    Doubt they gave them all up. Vast majority yes not all

  • Jack Stone

    You mean other than his full throated support of policing, Sinn Fein’s disarmament and his lack of dissident activity?

  • Mister_Joe

    Does that mean you are in favour of gunning down “suspects” in the street?

  • chrisjones2

    the Liam Adams child rape was swept under the carpet ….for 20 years

  • chrisjones2

    ….err McCartney murder …..in the pub with the biggest toilet in Ireland

    And BBC openly accused him last night of helping run DADD and helping murder alleged drug dealers

    Is that what you mean by full throated support?

  • chrisjones2


    man playing?

  • chrisjones2

    But they said they gave them all up.Gerry said so so it must be true

  • chrisjones2


    What a shocking suggestion !!!

    HAve they not read the posts on slugger suggesting the man was a saint?

  • Jag

    Is the Continuity IRA not a dissident group then?

    “However, an informed source has told the Irish Independent that “in all probability this was the work of people within the Continuity IRA”. says the Dublin Independent’s Paul Williams today.

    CIRA has well-documented links to the illegal drugs businesses, both as principals and extorters, so the RTE line that he “crossed someone in the course of his community work” may support that.

  • Thanks for background, submariner. I hope Mick has noted the kind of libellous statements he has made about me on this site.

  • Jag

    I must say that it’s a Northern Ireland novelty – like the Ulster fry and “wise yer bap” – the term “community activist”.

    Elsewhere, you have councillors (members of local authorities) or members of parliament or assembly. If there’s a killing or tragic death, the media ask these people for representative comment.

    Why in Northern Ireland is there a need for this profession – “community activist”?

  • Jag

    In the UK and Ireland Mick, “murder” is a judicially defined term.

    Mr Davison was killed yesterday (as was Mr McCartney in 2005).

  • g1980

    Who are the main suspects. And how can the police be so sure to rule out dissidents. All you guys saying there’s no proof jock davison did anything although the dogs on the street know fine well he has done. Just say it was robert mcartneys friends revenge attack that comes out to be resposible but no solid evidence to convict. Would yous say the same thing. I doubt it very much, they’ll be hunted. We all need to move on there’s no place for callous murders or guns being used on anyone. Our younger generations are living peacefully accepting one another it doesn’t matter wether your catholic or protestant we are all human. Leave the past in the past. Ourr younger ones have no bitterness in them at all . Violence only begets more violence. We’re happy there’s alot more oppertunity in our shares country than ever before. Mindless attacks and murders will slowly drag us back.

  • submariner

    Jude I have made Mick aware previously and he has stated that he would monitor Covenanter/Cuo Bono/Blairmaynes posts closely

  • aor26

    It seems the point I was making is just not sinking through to you. Disagreeing with it is fine. But you just do not understand it. Goodbye.

  • aor26

    I read in Irish News today the suspect is the son of someone the IRA man murdered in the 90’s. Time will tell I suppose. If they do make an arrest so quickly I would like to know why their response to loyalist paramiltaries concerted race hate campaign has been so pathetic.

  • Jack Stone

    Now we both know the McCartney murder was before the IRA disarmed but as to the alleged murder of alleged drug dealers (the reason I put the word “victim” in quotes above) , well, Id like to see their sources and the dates of that accusation.

  • USA

    Surely you mean “the UVF blamed him for asasinating Robert ‘Squeak’ Seymour”?

  • Am Ghobsmacht


  • Dan

    Nonsense. You needed one comment to remove to take the heat off yourself

  • Carl Mark

    So if Billy Hutchinson gets it you will be ok with that.
    and just to be sure; its ok to gun people down in the street! is it ok to kill anybody or just those you don’t like.

  • Carl Mark

    Zeno has a interesting debating style, it goes like this,
    1/he express a opinion,
    2/claims (without any proof) that his opinion is fact,
    3/demands you prove it for him.
    basically makes it up as he goes along and expects us to accept it.

  • mickfealty