Profile: Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison

Dead man linked to notorious murder was community worker who backed peace

Gerard “Jock” Davidson, who was shot dead in the markets area of Belfast.

Gerard “Jock” Davidson, who was shot dead in the markets area of Belfast.


A former IRA commander shot dead in Belfast has been linked to a pub fight which produced one of the most notorious murders in Northern Ireland’s recent history.

The killing of Robert McCartney (33) following a brawl at Magennis’s Bar in the city centre in January 2005, was carried out by members of an IRA which was to decommission all its arms later that year, a monitoring organisation for the British and Irish governments found.

Gerard “Jock” Davison was among three Provisional IRA members expelled following an internal investigation by the organisation after the death of the father-of-two. He was questioned by police but released without charge.

Mr McCartney’s sisters blamed the IRA for murdering him and accused the organisation of interfering with witnesses. They took their fight for justice to the White House, meeting President George W Bush on St Patrick’s Day in 2005. Nobody has been convicted of killing their brother.

Initially, Sinn Féin rejected claims that IRA members were present. The killing came at a delicate time for the party, which was involved in negotiations aimed at securing its support for the police.

Those talks ultimately resulted in acceptance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Sinn Féin’s entry into government at Stormont with the Democratic Unionists in 2007.

Davison is one of the most senior republicans who supported the peace process to have been killed since the IRA ceasefire.

He backed Sinn Féin’s peace strategy and was also a community worker for the Markets Development Association.

He had been an IRA commanding officer in Belfast.

The trial of one of the men suspected to be involved in McCartney’s death, Davison’s uncle Terence Davison, resulted in an acquittal. Two other men suspected of affray were also cleared.

According to the Crown Court judgment, Jock Davison engaged in a quarrel with McCartney and another man, Brendan Devine.

The judgment said: “Matters appear to have developed into a brawl within the bar in the course of which Brendan Devine alleges he was hit over the head with a bottle and received injuries to his neck which bled profusely. Gerard Davison also received a fairly severe injury to his hand.”

In the street outside Magennis’s Bar, at least Brendan Devine and Gerard Davison enganged in further “rancorous” dispute.

Thereafter the matter becomes one of dispute.

The judgement said: “The blood of Jock Davison was found on Devine’s jeans. There was also a profile of his blood on broken glass outside the bar.”

It was alleged by McCartney’s sister, Catherine, that Davison ordered the murder after the argument – a claim he always strongly denied.

In an interview with the Sunday Life newspaper, Davison claimed: “I’m no tout”.

He was shot dead close to his home as he was leaving for work.