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murder bid Loyalist Willie Young shot in north Belfast says motive behind attack "unclear"

Young was shot at his home in the Mount Vernon area on Saturday


Willie Young was shot in the chest on Saturday evening in the Mount Vernon area

Willie Young was shot in the chest on Saturday evening in the Mount Vernon area

Willie Young was shot in the chest on Saturday evening in the Mount Vernon area

A leading loyalist who survived a murder bid at his north Belfast home on Saturday believes the motive behind the attack remains “unclear” and has vowed that he will not be forced to leave the Mount Vernon area, a spokesperson has said on his behalf.

Willie Young (51), was shot in the chest by a gunman just before 9pm on Saturday evening in Mount Vernon Park.

It is understood he was able to walk to an ambulance following the attack, in which a gunman shot Young once before making his way from the scene in a black Renault Clio.

In a statement released on behalf of Mr Young, a spokesperson said the veteran loyalist, with alleged links to the UVF, had been spending time with his family when the attack took place.

The spokesperson also said Mr Young has “been named, without consent, by the media”.

They added: “Whilst the public may be interested in the identity of the victim of the shooting; this is entirely different than the appropriate public interest test which should have been applied before breaching Mr Young's privacy.

"Regardless of anyone's view of Mr Young, which may of course be wrongly coloured by over two decades of false allegations advanced on the basis of anonymous 'sources', he is entitled to live free from violence."

The spokesperson also said that the motive behind the shooting remains “unclear”, adding: "However, given the significant detail the PSNI have already provided it would be somewhat surprising if the assailant was not swiftly identified and brought before the courts. It is essential there is a strong criminal justice response to demonstrate that the PSNI treat the lives of loyalists as equally valuable as that of every other citizen.

“Mr Young has been inundated with messages of friendship from across the loyalist community. He will continue to live in his family home with the continued support of his loyalist friends and family.

"William Young is entitled to the same protections of the law as every other citizen. He would respectfully now request that his privacy and that of his family be respected."

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