Paul McCauley funeral: Priest's plea for justice for sectarian attack victim
A priest at the funeral of a man severely beaten during an unprovoked sectarian attack in Northern Ireland has said there is anger at his death.
Paul McCauley, 38, spent nine years in a helpless state after he was attacked by a loyalist mob at a barbecue in the Waterside area of Londonderry in July 2006.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said detectives have commenced a murder investigation.
Fr Michael Canny told mourners at St Columb's Church in the city: "This afternoon as we assemble before God, to say farewell to Paul McCauley and to thank God for Paul's life - a life that was cruelly cut short - it is only natural that, in this poignant tragedy, there is an air of denunciation and an outraged sense of injustice.
"There is a pervading, righteous anger here, but let it be the anger of a heart of love, a heart broken by the bitter brutality of men."
Throughout the course of the police probe - spanning the last nine years - detectives have arrested and questioned more than two dozen people, but just one man was jailed for his part in the assault on the popular civil servant.
Last year, police apologised for the fact more people had not been brought to justice.
Fr Canny added: "For the last nine years, Paul's family have been a shining example of a Christian family who have displayed all the virtues of Christian living by their love and devotion to Paul. Their example should make us all proud of our Christian ethos.
"The cause of Paul's death is known to all of us, and today I publicly commend his father, Jim, who - despite numbing grief - spoke up for his son in the most remarkably dignified manner. Our prayers must be that Jim's heartfelt plea for justice on Paul's behalf does not go unanswered."
Mr McCauley was a father-of-one from Derry.
On the night of the attack he was at a barbecue when he and two friends were assaulted by the gang.
As well as the head injuries he sustained, he also had two heart attacks on the way to Altnagelvin Hospital.
He spent years in care.
Church of Ireland Bishop Ken Good said: "There can be no excuse for the violent attack upon Paul McCauley and no justification for it.
"It was wrong. It was wicked. It was inexcusable. And it must be repudiated by all Christian people, regardless of denomination.
"Nor should there be any hiding place for those who carried it out. Their crime has appalled the people of this city.
"We - the community - have a responsibility to do all in our power to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice."
Belfast Telegraph Digital