27/05/2009

Rethink Loyalist Parade, Says Bishop

With ten people - including a 15-year-old youth - still being questioned over the brutal murder of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine, there has been a call to put off a planned loyalist parade.

While some 2,000 people are expecting to take part in the Pride of the Bann parade at the weekend, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good (pictured) said organisers should consider postponing it.

"In these matters, it is not good for these groups to feel pressurised or forced by me or by anybody else but I want them to use their discretion, I want them to be careful," he said.

"I want them to show leadership and I want them to show imagination."

If it goes ahead, it will pass close to the spot where the Catholic man was murdered.

However, things may be taken out of their hands as the Parades Commission is said to be reviewing its previous decision to permit Friday's march.
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The senior cleric was speaking soon after two other men who had been questioned were released without charge and the PSNI Chief Constable has asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate claims that his officers did not intervene during the fatal attack.

Yesterday, Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay defended the police's handling of the incident and also denied a claim by Mr McDaid's family that officers stood by while he was being attacked.

"This is not something that we're aware of, but if anybody has any information on that we would ask them to contact us and share that information with us," Mr Finlay said.

"Police arrived very quickly after the initial phone calls, and there were up to 60 people engaged in hand-to-hand fighting.

"Two neighbourhood police officers moved to make an initial arrest of one of the main aggressors, but such was the hostility of the crowd that they had to withdraw and move to rendering first aid.

"They were joined very quickly by a second two officers, who immediately rendered first aid on Mr McDaid, including CPR, in an attempt to save his life."

Mr McDaid's wife, Evelyn, was also beaten as she tried to go to her husband's aid.

See: Youth Arrested Over Coleraine Murder

(BMcC/JM)

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