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The BBC's Denis Murray
"Years of sectarian hatred don't disappear just because there's been a peace process"
 real 56k

RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan
tells the BBC's Brian Rowan that UDA involvement is one line of inquiry being investigated
 real 28k

South Antrim MP David Burnside:
"This is not a very happy society at the present time"
 real 28k

Monday, 30 July, 2001, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
RUC chief condemns 'sectarian' murder
Flowers mark the spot where the teenager died
Tribute: Flowers mark the spot where the teenager died
Loyalist paramilitaries murdered a Glengormley teenager simply because they thought he was a Catholic, the RUC chief constable has said.

Gavin Brett's father, a paramedic, tried in vain to help his son who died at the scene of the drive-by shooting at Hightown Road on Sunday night.

The Protestant teenager's 18-year-old friend, who is a Catholic, was shot in the ankle in the attack near a Gaelic Athletic Association club at 2320 BST.

Dissident loyalists calling themselves the Red Hand Defenders admitted carrying out the murder.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan: Blamed loyalists for murder
Sir Ronnie Flanagan: Blamed loyalists for murder
It has been used as a cover name used by both the Ulster Defence Association and Loyalist Volunteer Force.

However, in a BBC interview on Monday evening, RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan said the possibility that the UDA murdered Mr Brett was a "line of inquiry we will be actively following up".

Sir Ronnie said he had "no doubt senior UDA figures have been directing some of the recent violence".

He said while it was too early to speculate on whether the UDA murdered Mr Brett, the Red Hand Defenders was "a flag of convenience used in the past but the UFF and the LVF".

"Taken collectively they represent the lowest form of so-called loyalist life - people who are prepared to killed on the basis that their victims may be Catholics," he said.

Security meeting

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid has asked for an "urgent meeting" with Sir Ronnie and other security advisers on Tuesday to discuss the Gavin Brett's murder and other sectarian killings.

Dr Reid said he was disgusted by the "cowardly" murder of an innocent young man.

The dead youth's uncle, Peter Brett, said the family were devastated by the murder.

Peter Brett:
Peter Brett: "Family are devastated"
He said his nephew was a "loving boy who had a wonderful future ahead of him" having just sat his A' Levels.

He also appealed for no retaliation for the killing.

Local priest Father Dan White, who visited the injured man in hospital, said he was devastated that his friend was killed.

"He asked his own mother to say to Gavin's mother that he was sorry - he was sorry for something that he was not responsible for," he said.

'Evil people'

Northern Ireland Security Minister Jane Kennedy said those responsible were "evil".

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said: "I am shocked and appalled at the senseless and brutal murder of Gavin Brett."

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble
David Trimble: "Murder senseless"

Ulster Unionist South Antrim MP David Burnside added: "We appear to be going down into a cycle of violence and counter-violence which is very worrying for the whole of society."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he would meet loyalist paramilitaries in the UDA if it could help to end the current wave of violence.

Mr Adams said: "I am calling upon the leaders of unionism not only to declare their opposition to the sectarian attacks but to meet with the loyalist organisation that is involved."

David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, which is linked to the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force, said: "The idiocy and shame of the scumbags who did this and who are carrying out pipe bombing and petrol bombings is ludicrous."

The shooting was the culmination of a weekend of violence which included six pipe bomb attacks and loyalist gunfire and street clashes in north Belfast.

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See also:

30 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Trimble: Call off loyalist violence
30 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Father's frantic efforts to save son
30 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Man killed in drive-by shooting
30 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Pipe bombs damage houses
27 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Officers injured during clashes
26 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
SDLP questions loyalist ceasefire
01 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
UDA blamed for gang attacks
17 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Police come under gunfire
16 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Houses damaged in petrol bombing
29 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Gun battles in north Belfast
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