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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Loyalist critical after shooting
The scene of the shooting in Newtownabbey
Part of the Doagh Road was cordoned off
Leading loyalist Mark Haddock remains critically ill after a gun attack in County Antrim.

He was shot up to eight times on Tuesday near Mossley Mill in the Doagh Road area of Newtownabbey.

Fellow loyalists are being blamed for the attack on the 36-year-old, who is being treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

However, PUP leader David Ervine said he believed the UVF would have nothing to gain from carrying out the attack.

Mr Haddock is currently on bail on a charge of attempting to murder doorman Trevor Gowdy at a social club in Monkstown.

He was named in that court case as a leading UVF member. Judgement in the trial has been reserved.

It is understood he was shot between five and eight times just before 1600 BST on Tuesday.

It is believed he then staggered out of the house and made his way to a neighbour's house and an ambulance was called.

Part of the Doagh Road was cordoned off as police carried out a follow up investigation.

Mark Haddock (circled)
Mark Haddock (circled) was shot near Mossley Mill

It is understood Mr Haddock had an address in the area for the last two-and-a-half years but had been living at various addresses in recent months after warnings he could be under threat. He is originally from the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast.

Mr Ervine, whose party is linked to the UVF, said he did not know if that organisation had shot Mr Haddock.

"What I can say is that I would feel it is quite ludicrous - given the circumstances of the last few years where this man's name has been bandied about just about everywhere - why didn't they do it then, why now?," he said.

South Belfast Ulster Unionist assembly member Esmond Birnie said if the UVF was behind the murder attempt, his party would have to reconsider its links to the PUP.

"This is, as it were, a political marriage and it can be dissolved by either party," Mr Birnie said.

Northern Ireland Security Minister Paul Goggins condemned those behind the attack and urged anyone with information to contact police.

"This was a vicious attack and I condemn unreservedly those who were responsible for it," he said.

"That kind of conduct has no part to play in the future of Northern Ireland."

A map showing Newtownabbey

BBC Northern Ireland home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney said Mark Haddock was accused of several murders and membership of the UVF in the Irish Parliament last year.

"The claims were made by Pat Rabbitte, leader of the Irish Labour Party, in October," he said.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said he was shocked at the shooting.

East Antrim assembly member Roy Beggs Jnr also condemned those behind the shooting.

Leading loyalist shot in attack
30 May 06 |  Northern Ireland

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