Page last updated at 07:20 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 08:20 UK

Nine held over sectarian murder

Kevin McDaid
Kevin McDaid's death is being treated as murder

Nine men are being questioned by police about the murder of a 49-year-old father-of-four in Coleraine.

Kevin Brendan McDaid was killed yards from his home in the Somerset Drive area after Rangers beat Celtic to the Scottish league title on Sunday.

Police said he was "brutally beaten by a sectarian mob".

A 46-year-old man who was also assaulted in nearby Pates Lane remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

The police increased patrols in the County Londonderry town after further trouble on Monday.

Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor said their main line of inquiry was a "sectarian motive".

Sectarianism has no place in Northern Ireland and those who carried out this vicious murder have no place in society
Paul Goggins
Security minister

He said Mr McDaid was a youth worker who had tried to bring both sides of the community together and was "well-known and well-liked".

He said the police had been in the area at the time of the attack and had been aware of disturbances after the football matches.

The police are looking at the possibility that tensions had risen in the area after Irish tricolours had been put up on lampposts.

Inspector Taylor said the attack on the 46-year-old man, who is critically ill, was being treated as attempted murder.

"We may very well be looking at a second murder here," he said.

Security Minister Paul Goggins appealed to people in the area to help police "in bringing his killers to justice".

"I would appeal to the community for calm - sectarianism has no place in Northern Ireland and those who carried out this vicious murder have no place in society," he said.

'Loyalist group'

The deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, said a "sizeable group of loyalists" was responsible for the attacks.

"They decided it was a good idea to attack a Catholic area," he said.

"I'm absolutely dismayed at this and I think at this very, very important time, it's important that people in the community identify those responsible and co-operate with the police to bring those murderers to justice."

The East Londonderry DUP MP, Gregory Campbell, also condemned the murder.

"There has to be total condemnation of this killing as we would do for all other killings, no matter when or where they occurred or who the victims were," he said.

Forensic team at the scene
Forensic teams have been at the scene

"There ought to be the fullest possible co-operation between everyone in the area and the police in order to bring those responsible to justice."

SDLP assembly member John Dallat said he knew Mr McDaid's family well.

"This man was doing nothing more than going down to check on his sons and lost his life when this lynching mob from a different part of the town came along and rendered their form of justice.

"It's certainly lawlessness and it needs to addressed.

"The immediate emphasis should be on an inquiry.

"It must be thorough, it must be detailed, and we mustn't be discussing it years into the future," said Mr Dallat.

Ulster Unionist assembly member David McClarty said it was too early to say who was involved.

"We are in a situation here where we have to moderate our language and not go throwing blame where no proof has been given as to who was responsible for this incident.

"There is an element of sectarianism in the area but the vast majority of people in the Killowen/Heights area of Coleraine want to live in peace and harmony with their next door neighbours," he said.

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