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ULSTER REPORTER SHOT DEAD IN FRONT OF WIFE; Killed hours after Reid threat.


A JOURNALIST was killed in a drive-by shooting in Northern Ireland last night hours after Loyalist terrorists were given one last chance to end the violence.

Martin O'Hagan was hit as he walked home from the pub with his wife in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

Earlier Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid warned the Ulster Defence Association he would declare their ceasefire over if there was any more violence.

There was speculation the Loyalist Volunteer Force - allies of the UDA - may have been behind Mr O'Hagan's death.

The father-of-three, who was in his 50s and worked for the Dublin-based Sunday Sun, had received death threats in the past from the LVF's murdered former leader, Billy "King Rat" Wright.

Sunday Sun editor Jim McDowell last night paid tribute to the writer.

He said: "Martin was a journalist who never stood back in his life. If there are issues to be addressed, then he did it.""

The shooting came after Dr Reid held back from barring the UDA's political wing from the Northern Ireland assembly.

The Ulster Secretary revealed he changed his mind after assurances loyalist sectarian attacks would end.

But he stressed that if violence continued or resumed, he would act.

Dr Reid said: "There will be no warning - this is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks they can drag Northern Ireland to the violence of the past."

Meanwhile, RUC chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan yesterday slammed community leaders for failing to stop riots in north Belfast.

He said: "It is time for people to show some passion about peace."

Voice of Mirror: Page 4


MAYHEM: John Reid, left, and Belfast yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2001
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