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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 19:16 GMT 20:16 UK
Orders condemn 'wicked' killing
Michael McIlveen died after being attacked in Ballymena
Michael McIlveen died after being attacked in Ballymena
The murder of a Ballymena teenager has been described as "reprehensible and wicked" by the Protestant Loyal Orders.

The leaders of the Orange Order, Independent Orange Order and Royal Black Institution condemned the attack on Michael McIlveen, 15, a Catholic.

He died on Monday after a sectarian gang attack in the town on Sunday. Police have appealed for information.

The Orders said no claim to political loyalty or religious affiliation could justify such a "cowardly" murder.

"As leaders of the loyal orders we unequivocally condemn the murder in Ballymena of Michael McIlveen and we extend our deepest sympathy to his grieving parents and family at this time," they said in a statement.

"We call for an immediate end to inter-community conflict in Ballymena and elsewhere, and we would urge anyone with information to come forward quickly and help the police investigation.

"It is essential that those responsible for Michael McIlveen's cowardly murder face the full rigour of the law and pay the penalty for their crime."

Teenager's family view floral tributes left where he was attacked
Teenager's family view floral tributes left where he was attacked

The teenager, from the Dunvale area of Ballymena, was attacked after buying a pizza in the early hours of Sunday.

Drew Nelson of the Orange Order said the way forward was for the two communities to "share this small province we live in, be tolerant of each other's culture and heritage and their traditions and to get along together".

"Incidents like this just set community relations back for years," he told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuiness said he had visited the McIlveen family to express the party's sympathy.

Afterwards, Mr McGuinness called on civic, community and political leaders in Ballymena to come together to work against sectarianism in memory of the schoolboy.

Police believe Michael and two friends were chased from the car park at the IMC Cinema on the Larne Road, past St Patrick's army barracks, to the rear of Granville Drive where he was attacked.

Up to 30 people who were in the car park between 2330 BST on Saturday and 0100 BST on Sunday are asked to contact police on 028 25667280.

On Tuesday, Michael's mother paid tribute to her son as "popular" with Catholic and Protestant friends.

Michael was a pupil at St Patrick's College in Ballymena which held a special assembly on Tuesday morning.

Young people have been holding vigils in the teenager's memory and flowers have been laid at the spot where he was attacked.

Police have been granted a further 48 hours to question four people - three men and a juvenile - in connection with the death.

Mother in tribute to murdered son
09 May 06 |  Northern Ireland
Beaten teenager dies in hospital
08 May 06 |  Northern Ireland
Four arrested over youth attack
08 May 06 |  Northern Ireland

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