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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
Vigil held for murdered schoolboy
Candles lit at vigil for Michael McIlveen
Candles were lit in the vigil for Michael McIlveen
Family and friends of a Ballymena schoolboy beaten to death in a sectarian attack at the weekend have held a vigil outside his family home.

Michael McIlveen, 15, a Catholic, died on Monday after a gang attacked him in the town on Sunday. Police have appealed for information.

Flowers were laid and candles were lit while music played at the front of his home in the Dunvale area.

The murder has been widely condemned by groups across the political spectrum.

The teenager was attacked after buying a pizza in the early hours of Sunday.

Floral tributes and photos outside Michael's home
Floral tributes were left for the teenager known as Mickey-bo
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness 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.

The Protestant Loyal Orders described the killing as "reprehensible and wicked".

The leaders of the Orange Order, Independent Orange Order and Royal Black Institution said no claim to political loyalty or religious affiliation could justify such a "cowardly" murder.

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".

Michael McIlveen died after being attacked in Ballymena
Michael McIlveen died after being attacked in Ballymena
"Incidents like this just set community relations back for years," he told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

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.

On Tuesday, police were granted a further 48 hours to question four people - three men and a juvenile - in connection with the death.




SEE ALSO:
Orders condemn 'wicked' killing
10 May 06 |  Northern Ireland
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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