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  1. ITV Report

Up Close looks at paramilitaries still controlling communities

Up Close reveals the frantic 999 call a woman made after her husband was shot by appointment by dissident republicans in north Belfast two years ago.

Michael McGibbon was murdered in April 2016 just yards from his home in Ardoyne in north Belfast.

Dissidents ordered the father to a meeting, then shot him three times, leaving him bleeding to death on the ground.

The killing is among a number featured on tonight’s Up Close which looks at the paramilitaries still casting a long shadow over some communities in Northern Ireland.

Michael McGibbon pictured, who died after being shot in an alleyway in Ardoyne.

My husband has been threatened and he has had to go and meet people and there's been three shots…please quick.

– Joanne McGibbon's 999 call

His widow Joanne McGibbon says she hopes hearing her call for help will make people realise the effect paramilitaries have on families.

“I think it would be good for them to hear the tapes to hear the real horror of the situation like that is reality. That is what happened.

“Unless people listen to what happened they are not going to really understand it. And you can never fully understand it unless you were in the situation yourself,” she says.

The programme looks at all the groups on ceasefire - republican and loyalists. And the dissidents still trying to murder and main members of the security forces.

162
security-related killings since Good Friday Agreement
2,848
punishment attacks since Good Friday Agreement

A senior police officer - in charge of the paramilitary crime taskforce - tells us there are still people wearing riding two horses.

“There are people who by day who present themselves as community leaders who present themselves as being involved in community projects for the benefit of that community but actually there is another side to that. They are abusing those communities and use fear to control those communities,’’ says Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs.

On the bigger picture of why the paramilitaries still exist - he admits: “Many of those groups dropped themselves off the radar by either not attacking the security forces or other community. As a result collectively as a society we took our eye of the ball about the harm being done to their own communities.”

  • Up Close: Para-normal airs on UTV on Thursday night at 9pm.