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Belfast solicitor Niall Murphy still in critical condition battling Covid-19

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Ill: Niall Murphy

Ill: Niall Murphy

Ill: Niall Murphy

High profile solicitor Niall Murphy last night remained in a critical but stable condition in hospital after contracting coronavirus.

Mr Murphy, a 43-year-old father of three, who is a partner at KRW Law Firm and is a leading figure within the Co Antrim GAA, is in a medically induced coma after being rushed to hospital last week.

The solicitor and activist, who sits on the board of Relatives for Justice, had shown signs of illness since returning from a visit to New York a number of weeks ago.

He returned to Belfast about a week before St Patrick's Day.

Mr Murphy did see a doctor in the following weeks but was not tested for coronavirus, several people close to the solicitor said. It is understood his temperature was not high enough to pass the threshold for testing.

Emma Rogan MLA, who has known Mr Murphy for nearly 20 years as he has represented her family and others in their quest for answers relating to the 1994 Loughinisland massacre, said she was devastated to hear of his illness.

"We are really devastated to hear how ill Niall is," Ms Rogan said.

"My first thoughts were for his wife and wee children. God help them, they are not allowed to see him."

Ms Rogan, whose father Adrian was one of six people killed by the UVF in the Heights Bar attack, said he was involved in her family's campaign "from the very, very start".

"He is more than a solicitor, he is a friend.

"He always told us I will look after all the legal bits because you have enough to deal with the emotional stuff."

The Sinn Fein South Down MLA said the solicitor remembers everything, from years back, to the point where the family have jokingly dubbed him "Rain Man".

In a statement, Kevin Winters, on behalf of KRW Law, urged people who know Niall to send him a message of support on Monday.

He said: "His condition remains critical but stable. We have invited people to send him and his family messages of support on Monday.

"All of us hope and pray that Niall's well-known battling qualities will see him through what is a very difficult time for him and his family.

"He would want everyone to keep themselves and their families and NHS staff safe by following advice to stay home and avoid the spread of this awful virus.

"In particular as a GAA mentor he would want young people to stay indoors and use social media to keep in touch with friends and family."

Belfast Telegraph