Catholic shot dead in ambush: Attack on workmen in mini-bus seen as loyalist warning to workers at Shorts aerospace factory

A CATHOLIC man was shot dead and five others injured in a loyalist attack on a mini-bus full of Catholic workmen in east Belfast yesterday. Witnesses said casualties would have been much higher had the mini-bus driver, who was shot in the legs, not been able to steer the vehicle away from the ambush.

The mini-bus was carrying eight Catholic painters, four of whom were brothers and three their nephews. They were on their way to the Shorts aerospace factory, where they worked as sub-contractors.

As the bus stopped at traffic lights, two men jumped from a following car and raked it with gunfire. They then made off on foot over a railway bridge. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force, which said it was not a random sectarian action.

The man killed was Joseph Reynolds, 40, a father-of-five from Andersonstown in west Belfast. Relatives said Mr Reynolds, a well-known darts player, had many Protestant friends and colleagues. His firm had carried out work for Shorts for five years.

Shorts has long been the subject of controversy. Its workforce used to be overwhelmingly Protestant, but recently fair employment experts have commended its attempts to achieve a more balanced workforce.

This has led some to believe that those who carried out yesterday's attack may have had a double motive, part of which was to discourage Catholics from taking jobs in what was once a largely Protestant preserve. Tom Gillen of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said: 'It's obviously another mass murder attempt by criminal thugs who want to murder people because of their religion. But I think this particular attack is more sinister in that people have been arguing about Shorts making very strenuous efforts to provide equal opportunities. This seems to be a response from loyalist terrorists saying, 'Keep Catholics out of Shorts'.'

Last night, the UVF claimed responsibility for another killing after gunmen shot and seriously injured a 58-year-old man who answered a call at his home in Lansdowne Park, north Belfast.

The Irish government and John Hume, leader of the SDLP, yesterday welcomed an indication from a senior Ulster Unionist Party spokesman that Sinn Fein might some day be acceptable as a participant in political talks.

The Rev Martin Smyth, who in addition to being UUP MP for South Belfast is head of the Orange Order, surrounded his comment with preconditions which included an IRA surrender of all its weapons and explosives, a renunciation of violence by Sinn Fein and a recognition that Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK.

None the less, nationalists hailed Mr Smyth's statement as an advance on the traditional Unionist position. He was fiercely attacked, however, by Peter Robinson, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, who said it damaged the Unionist cause.

Asked whether he could ever imagine sitting down with Sinn Fein, Mr Robinson said: 'I can envisage no circumstances and would not waste my time to attempt to envisage any circumstances, where I would be doing so.'

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?