Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Dissidents blamed for city murder

Scene of murder in Prehen
Mr McConnell was shot at his house in Prehen

Politicians have blamed dissident republicans for the murder of a man in Londonderry on Wednesday.

Jim McConnell, 38, was shot by two masked men who entered his house in Woodland Avenue in Prehen just after midnight. He died later in hospital.

The police are investigating the possibility that the shooting may have been drugs-related.

Parish priest Father Joe Gormley said Mr McConnell's father Hugh "was in a very sad place".

"To his family Jim was a son and a brother, and that's how I remember him," he said.

It is believed the attackers drove off in the direction of the city.

DUP assembly member William Hay said he believed dissident republicans carried out the murder.

"That is worrying because you still have organisations out there who think the only way they can solve the problem of Northern Ireland is by killing someone and taking the law into their own hands.

"They don't have any respect for law and order themselves," he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member Raymond McCartney said such actions had no support in the community.

"The people in this city have overwhelmingly shown their support for the republican project as it's going forwards, and if these people are trying to step in to fill any vacuum which they feel exists then they have had their answer.

"So if this is coming from a group that calls themselves republicans then there is no support for their actions," he said.

Mayor of Derry, Councillor Gerard Diver condemned the murder

A neighbour of the dead man said he was shocked by the shooting.

"I was awakened this morning around about 2.00 by the police and they told me then that the man had been shot," he said.

"I haven't really slept since, to be honest it's just unbelievable, it's a really, really quiet neighbourhood, you just don't expect that."

The mayor of Derry, Councillor Gerard Diver, condemned the murder.

"It certainly looks like a particularly grotesque and brutal shooting by masked men, something that harks back to the worst days of the Troubles," he said.

"My reaction is one of complete horror, people will be shocked to the core about this."

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