NewsCrime Desk

Detectives investigating murder of Jock Davison arrest 25-year-old man

Forensic investigators at the scene of the murder in May
Forensic investigators at the scene of the murder in May

A 25-year-old man has been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of a former IRA commander in Belfast.

Gerard "Jock" Davison, 47, was shot dead in the republican Markets area in May.

The involvement of Provisional IRA members in a subsequent killing, believed to be in revenge for Mr Davison's murder, has sparked a major political crisis at Stormont and thrown the future of power-sharing into serious doubt.

Ex-IRA man and father-of-nine Kevin McGuigan, 53, was gunned down in the Short Strand area of Belfast in mid-August.

Mr McGuigan was suspected by some in the republican movement of involvement in the Davison killing. The two former IRA men had been engaged in a bitter personal feud dating back years.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the detained suspect had been arrested in connection with the "overall investigation" into the murder of Mr Davison. He has been taken to the PSNI's serious crime suite in Antrim for questioning.

A PSNI assessment that not only were PIRA members involved in the McGuigan murder, but structures of the supposedly defunct organisation still exist, is threatening to engulf the power-sharing government in Belfast.

The Ulster Unionist party are set to resign from the Stormont Executive next week, claiming the revelations have shattered trust in Sinn Fein.

The Democratic Unionists have said the assessment by PSNI chief constable George Hamilton is of sufficient strength to force the exclusion of Sinn Fein from the coalition.

The DUP has threatened to pull the plug on the Executive if action is not taken against Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein, which refutes the claim that the IRA still exists, has accused the UUP of contriving a crisis in a bid to outflank the DUP ahead of next year's Assembly poll.

Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeted: "Ulster Unionists are attempting to spook the DUP into collapsing the GFA (Good Friday Agreement) institutions for purely electoral gain. #ItsAboutElectionsStupid."