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Ardoyne incident PSNI launch murder probe after eight-week-old baby dies, toddler left critical in Belfast

Police have launched a murder investigation and made an arrest


A Belfast councillor has confirmed a baby thought to be around eight weeks old has been killed and a toddler is in critical condition in hospital following an incident in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Tuesday.

Police have launched a murder investigation and made an arrest.

People Before Profit’s Fiona Ferguson said the incident has sent a “wave of shock” across north Belfast and said it will take “some time” for people to recover.

"Because of the nature of it, because we are all learning about it almost live, I think will take some time for people to get over,” she added.

The PSNI stated its investigation is at an early stage and further information will be provided in due course.

Local SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon said the incident involved a woman and two children and the reports were “highly distressing”.

Police remain at the scene in Brompton Park.

One local woman said she saw two children being taken to an ambulance.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it received a 999 call at 8.16pm on Tuesday following reports of an incident in the area.

“NIAS despatched a rapid response paramedic and two emergency crews to the scene,” said a spokesperson.

“Following assessment and initial treatment two patients were taken to hospital in Belfast.”

Ms Mallon said her thoughts are with the family at the centre of the major incident and that the local community is shocked.

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“It is important that the PSNI are given the space and full co-operation to fully investigate this terrible incident,” she continued.

“The SDLP will continue to liaise with police, those affected and the community on the ground as the situation unfolds.

"Our thoughts are with the wider family and we want to thank those residents who assisted the police at the scene tonight."

North Belfast MP John Finucane said “our thoughts are with all those involved”.

Speaking from scene, he said: "The community of Ardoyne and beyond are shocked and heartbroken as the police have now confirmed the murder of a young child and another in critical condition.

"The thoughts of all of our community are with the family involved.

"I would also appeal to everyone to be mindful of what has happened and not to post or share anything which would add to the distress of those involved or the local community."

Fr Gary Donegan, who had served as a priest in North Belfast, posted on Twitter: “Following the tragic death of a child while another remains critical, our prayers are with the good people of Ardoyne tonight.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “This is tragic news. My prayers are with all involved.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: ”I've never met a stronger community than the people of Ardoyne. We're all thinking of you tonight.”

Local SDLP councillor Paul McCusker Tweeted: “Terrible sad and tragic news tonight in Ardoyne”.

He added: "Police are continuing their investigations of what happened tonight in Brompton Park.

"We now need to give them time to do this and think about the wider family.”

North Belfast SDLP asked people not to share any speculation around what happened at the scene.

"We are aware that the PSNI are attending a major incident scene at Brompton Park,” the party tweeted. “Our thoughts are with the Ardoyne community at this time.

"We ask please for no speculation at this time, as it can be unhelpful and upsetting.”

People Before Profit councillor Fiona Ferguson tweeted: “Devastating news from Ardoyne. All my thoughts are with the family involved and the community who are in a state of shock.

"Few situations are as difficult as this and local support is paramount. Would appeal for people to refrain from public speculation in respect for all involved.”

UUP leader Doug Beattie added: “Thinking of everyone in the Ardoyne community tonight. My prayers are with the family and all those affected.”

Green Party councillor Brian Smyth Tweeted: “News coming out of Ardoyne - heartbreaking.”

Mal O’Hara, the party’s deputy leader, added: “Heartbreaking news coming from Ardoyne. Best not to speculate and give our thoughts to the family and community at this difficult time.”

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