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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 22:36 GMT
UDA admits postal worker's killing
Forensic officers at murder scene
Forensic officers examine the scene of the shooting
The loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Defence Association has admitted carrying out the killing of a postman on the outskirts of north Belfast.

Daniel McColgan, a 20-year-old Catholic from Longlands Court, Newtownabbey, was shot as he arrived for work at a postal depot at Rathcoole at about 0445 GMT on Saturday.

He leaves a partner and a 13-month-old daughter.

Security services across Belfast went on high alert on Saturday evening after loyalists threatened more attacks after the murder.

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern: Called on the PSNI to take action
A statement issued by the Red Hand Defenders - sometimes used as a cover name for the UDA - said all Catholic postal workers were now considered "legitimate targets".

It follows a similar threat made to teachers and Catholic workers at Catholic schools in north Belfast on Friday.

The murder took place after the first relatively calm night following two nights of intensive rioting by both loyalists and nationalists in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast. It is feared that it will add to tensions in the city.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland to take tougher action against loyalist attackers.

'Easy target'

He said two-thirds of the recent attacks in north Belfast had been carried out by loyalist groups, but only a small number of arrests had been made.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, speaking in west Belfast, called for calm and restraint after the killing, saying it was a "challenge" for all sides.

Mr McColgan was getting out of his car at the Royal Mail office at Barna Square in the centre of the Rathcoole estate when two gunmen approached him.

It is understood they fired several shots, hitting him a number of times.

He was taken to the Mater Hospital where he died a short time later.

A green Renault 14 Energy car, believed to have been used by the gunmen, was later found on fire a short distance away.

Acting Detective Superintendent Roy Suitters said the victim had been an easy target, and had been picked out simply because he was a Catholic in a loyalist area.

Dr John Reid
Dr John Reid: Condemned those responsible for the shooting

Last October, the Northern Ireland Secretary specified the UDA - which meant the government no longer recognised the ceasefire the organisation claimed to be observing.

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid condemned the killing and said people must not be beaten by those who "cling to hate-filled violence".

'Tough response'

The first minister and deputy first minister have also condemned the murder.

The Communications Workers Union said that as a mark of respect to their murdered colleague they would not collect any mail on Sunday, nor make deliveries on Monday.

Normal working may not resume until after the man's funeral next week.

The Royal Mail issued a statement saying it was deeply shocked and saddened.

It added that it would do everything possible to support the man's family and his colleagues.

John Keggie, the union's deputy general secretary, said there was a feeling of "shock and anger" among postal workers across the country.

"The perpetrators of this attack should hang their heads in shame because this was a young postman doing his best to serve his local community," he said.

Tom Gillen from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions condemned those who carried out the attack.

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness called for a tough response.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Noreen Erskine
"The dead man had been a postman for the past eighteen months"
Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union
"As a mark of respect there will be no deliveries on Monday in Northern Ireland"
See also:

12 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Ahern demands action over killing
12 Jan 02 | Education
Dissidents threaten Catholic teachers
06 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Arrests in teenager's murder case
05 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Police renew murder appeal
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