Loyalist 'lynch mob' condemned over killing of Catholic

 

A CATHOLIC father of four has been murdered in what police say was a sectarian attack in Co Derry.

Kevin McDaid was attacked and fatally injured a short distance from his home in Coleraine. His Protestant wife, Evelyn, was also attacked and injured in the same incident.

Mr McDaid (49) was reported to have been checking on his sons after disturbances broke out in the town following the final matches in the Scottish league involving Celtic and Rangers.

Nine men were arrested last night in connection with the murder.

Police are also investigating another incident close to the murder scene in which another Catholic man was critically injured. Detectives are treating the attack on 46-year-old Damian Fleming as attempted murder.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP said Mr McDaid, a voluntary community worker, was murdered by a loyalist mob.

He died when a number of loyalists from another part of Coleraine travelled to the Heights estate following the victory by Rangers in the Scottish league on Sunday.

Det Chief Insp Frankie Taylor confirmed the motive was sectarianism and said the victim was well known and well liked locally.

He added that Mr McDaid worked very closely with the police to try to improve the area.

“He has been described to me as a man who would do anything for anybody,” he said.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the loyalist mob “decided it was a good idea to attack a Catholic area” following Sunday’s football matches.

“I’m absolutely dismayed at this and I think at this very, very important time, it’s important that people in the community identify those responsible and co-operate with the police to bring those murderers to justice. Despite the enormous progress we have made over the recent past, sectarian hatred continues to blight many areas and loyalist paramilitaries continue to orchestrate sectarian violence,” he said. “We need to see clear and unequivocal condemnation of this sectarian murder from the political leaders of unionism from across the spectrum.

“Politicians must lead by example and, through a clear commitment to a future based on partnership and equality, demonstrate that sectarianism and bigotry have no place in our society.”

SDLP Assemblyman John Dallat said he believed the UDA was involved. “This man was doing nothing more than going down to check on his sons and lost his life when this lynch mob from a different part of the town came along and rendered their form of justice,” he said.

“What sparked it off was some sort of rumour that Tricolours were flying. This was organised and it is my belief that loyalist paramilitaries were involved. From my inquiries from very reliable sources as recently as last Friday I am satisfied that the Ulster Defence Association is still structured and still influencing events in Coleraine in a significant way.

“While there may have been some minor change in leadership, the organisation is intact, still led by the same sectarian personalities who have no intention of reforming themselves. We need to outlaw these organisations and let the good people get on with peace building.”

Gregory Campbell, a Stormont Minister and the local DUP MP, also condemned the murder.

“There has to be total condemnation of this killing as we would do for all other killings, no matter when or where they occurred or who the victims were,” he said.

“There ought to be the fullest possible co-operation between everyone in the area and the police in order to bring those responsible to justice.” Ulster Unionist Assembly member David McClarty also condemned the murder.

Alliance councillor Barney Fitzpatrick said: “This was a disgraceful attack on an innocent man who has now sadly lost his life. This type of sectarian attack should have been left in the past. All sides of the community must condemn this murder so that those responsible can see that they have no support. This was an atrocious murder carried out by people who have hate in their hearts. I would urge anybody who has any information about this attack to contact the police so these murderers can be brought before the courts.”