Incident Summary:

1/12/2002: Daniel McColgan, a young Catholic postal worker, was shot by two gunmen as he arrived at work in Rathcoole, a Protestant stronghold in north Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. McColgan died later that day in hospital. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that Catholic postal workers were suitable targets, as were Catholic teachers. The next day, the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) also claimed responsibility for the killing; two members were arrested in connection with the incident.



United Kingdom

Western Europe

region/u.s. state:

Northern Ireland


Location Details:
County Antrim. Royal Mail sorting office in Rathcoole on the outskirts of north Belfast

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Civilian
Specific Description Daniel McColgan, a young Catholic postal worker
Nationality of Target Northern Ireland
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
McColgan was shot five times in the back and twice in the head
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information Police found a burning car in the area that they believed might have been connected with the attack; sources imply that this was the car that the gunmen fled in.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Red Hand Defenders (RHD) (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Other)
Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Other)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 2
Number of Captured Perpetrators 2
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Catholic postman gunned down in Belfast by Protestants," Agence France Presse, January 12, 2002.
"Catholic worker killed by gunman in tense north Belfast," Associated Press, January 12, 2002.
"N Ireland: UDA Terror Group Claims Responsibility for Killing of Postman," The Guardian, January 14, 2002.