Justice Minister Naomi Long has called for an end to paramilitary style attacks following a shooting incident in Belfast last night that has left a 39-year-old man with life changing injuries.
Naomi Long said: “Violent criminals have carried out a brutal attack on a member of our community, which has resulted in life changing injuries.
“Violence has no place in our society and the actions of those who terrorise their own community by bringing guns on to the streets must be condemned by all of us. Nothing justifies such attacks and they have no place in a Northern Ireland that is trying to move forward.
“These criminals would like you to think that they are protecting ‘their’ community and that the victims deserve what they get. But the reality is that those who carry out these barbaric attacks don’t care about people or justice or solving social problems. They are only interested in exerting control and exploiting our communities.
“They don’t offer protection; they inflict fear using shootings, beatings, drug dealing, intimidation, and protection rackets as a means to do so.”
Explaining that she is committed to working with Executive colleagues to end the harm caused by paramilitaries, the Minister added: “The New Decade, New Approach document provided a commitment to put a priority on tackling these issues and I very much welcome that.
“The Tackling Paramilitarism Programme has been working for the last three and a half years to tackle issues associated with paramilitary activity and criminality in our communities, including prevention work, increasing confidence in the criminal justice system, activity to tackle the perpetrators, and providing support for individuals and communities that are subject to paramilitary activity.
“I want to work with communities to increase confidence in the police and criminal justice system so that everyone has confidence that issues and offending behaviour can be dealt with in the appropriate manner.”