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Sunday, April 26, 1998 Published at 01:45 GMT 02:45 UK

Northern Ireland killing condemned
image: [ Officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary examined the area ]
Officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary examined the area

The killing of a young Catholic man in Northern Ireland has been condemned from both sides of the border.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting of university student Ciaran Heffron, 22, in the early hours of Saturday.

Maggie Swarbrick reports from Belfast (1'31")
He was found lying in the road by a taxi driver near a railway station at Crumlin, County Antrim. He had suffered extensive head injuries and is believed to have been shot.

Ireland's foreign minister said those responsible wanted to block the building of a partnership and trust.

David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, blamed members of splinter group the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) for the killing.

"It bears all the hallmarks of an LVF killing," he said.

Mr Heffron, based at Coleraine, Co Londonderry, had returned home for the weekend as his mother was due to go into hospital.

[ image: Friends wept at the murder scene]
Friends wept at the murder scene
The taxi driver who found the student, flagged down a car driven by an off-duty paramedic who tried in vain to revive him.

The Belfast-based paramedic, David Sands, said Mr Heffron was "lying on his side with severe trauma to the head. Later I heard he had been shot several times in the head.

"I dealt with him as best I could, but I could find no sign of life."

He said the student's father had gone out in the early hours of the morning looking for his son and was met by police who had to break the tragic news to him.

Mr Sands said: "I have been doing this job for 15 years now. Everyone thinks you get hardened to it, but you don't. In fact it gets worse the more you see."

Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam was quick to condemn the killing, the second of young Catholic men in the last four days. The Royal Ulster Constabulary blames loyalists for both murders.

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