Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 22:31 UK

McDaid worry over 'negotiations'

Kevin McDaid
Kevin McDaid was beaten to death outside his home in Somerset Drive

The family of murder victim Kevin McDaid said they are concerned police were involved in "negotiations" with loyalists on the day he was killed.

However, Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said officers worked to ease tensions and came quickly to the aid of Mr McDaid.

The Catholic father-of-four was beaten to death in Coleraine on Sunday and his friend, Damian Fleming, badly injured.

On Friday night a band parade in Coleraine passed without incident.

Mr Fleming remains in a critical condition in a Belfast hospital.

The McDaid family said they were concerned loyalists had threatened violence unless certain demands were met.

Police confirmed that talks had been taking place between both communities, but that no-one would dictate terms to the police.

In a statement issued by their solicitors, the family said it was a "fundamental tenet of a civilised society that individuals such as these should not dictate the terms of law and order."

They said they were "further concerned that given the prior knowledge of the threat, neither we nor our neighbours were properly protected by the police.

"We want the community to support the police, but equally police must also support the community."

Nine charged

Nine men have been charged with the murder and attempted murder of Mr McDaid.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said Mr McDaid had been involved in substantial talks which had been taking place between both communities as tensions built during the day.

"We run the Police Service of Northern Ireland, no one else. My officers will not be told what to do by anyone.

"No one dictates terms in terms of keeping the peace to the police service."

Damien Fleming
Damien Fleming is critically ill in hospital

The McDaid family have made a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman.

They said it had been an "extremely difficult time", and the "anguish of Kevin's loss has been heightened by the brutal nature of his death; murdered on his doorstep in front of his family."

They thanked all those who had offered their support and condolences, and said it had been a "source of enormous strength".

"We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the staff of the Causeway Hospital for the sensitive and expert way in which they dealt with our beloved Kevin in the aftermath of the vicious and unprovoked attack which led to his death."

They also said they were "grateful to the members of the PSNI who attended to Kevin after this horrific assault and who attempted to administer CPR as he lay dying at our feet."

The family said tensions remained high in the area and appealed for calm.

"This should not be the legacy of Kevin's death. It is not what he would have wanted. Kevin lived helping others," they said in a statement.

"His short life was spent trying to bridge the divide that exists in our community.

"His death at the hands of people who have nothing to offer our community should not be allowed to undo his life's work."

Parish priest Father Charlie Keaney said some Rangers supporters had left their football shirts in tribute outside Mr McDaid's house.



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SEE ALSO
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Nine held over sectarian murder
26 May 09 |  Foyle and West


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