UB40‘s concert at Belfast’s Botanic Gardens last Friday (May 1) was disrupted by a shooting incident. The target was Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair’, commander of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, who was wounded in the head, but survived. Adair was on a week-end parole from The Maze prison.
“I was hit from behind,” he later said. “but I saw the flash. I heard the bang and felt the pain. I knew it was a bullet.” He claims that he was then set upon by 12 people, but managed to escape with his wife in a nearby taxi.
The police are keeping an open mind about the motives, and are asking people who attended the open air event to hand over any photographs they took on the day, in the hope that the gunman might be identified.
Talking to the Belfast Telegraph, a police source said: “It is unlikely that this was a pre-planned hit by an IRA or INLA team.”
Adair had been sentenced to 16 years for directing terrorism, but is set to be freed in the summer under the early release scheme.
A spokesman for Virgin, the band’s label, told nme.com that the band were unaware of the shooting until it was reported in the Irish papers the following day.