Belfast Telegraph

Killer loyalist gang overtaken by evil, priest tells Paul McCauley funeral

By Donna Deeney

The 800-strong congregation at the funeral of Paul McCauley heard that the loyalist gang who inflicted horrendous injuries on him had been "overtaken by the forces of evil".

Loyalist thugs beat Paul McCauley (38) so badly he lay in a vegetative state for nine years before dying last Saturday.

The Catholic and Protestant bishops of Derry stood side by side on the steps of St Columb's Church, where they met the funeral cortege ahead of Requiem Mass.

They have both called for anyone with information on the murder to come forward and "put truth on the table".

The chief celebrant was Parish Priest Fr Michael Canny, who told mourners the "air of denunciation and an outraged sense of injustice" felt by so many was "only natural". Catholic Bishop Donal McKeown, his counterpart from the Church of Ireland, Bishop Ken Good, and Presbyterian minister Dr David Latimer joined Paul's parents Jim and Cathy, his daughter Maeve and his brother and sisters in the packed church.

Among the congregation were Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Foyle MP Mark Durkan, Foyle MLAs and councillors from both Sinn Fein and the SDLP, and representatives of the Northern Ireland Office.

A police outrider led the cortege into the grounds of the Waterside church, which is just yards from where Mr McCauley fell victim to the rampaging loyalist mob.

The brutal attack in July 2006 sparked an outrage that still prevails, which Fr Canny described in his homily as "righteous anger".

Fr Canny said: "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.

"It is not my intention to stand here today and recite the theological differences between our Christian traditions. By doing so I would only be giving credibility to the people who carried out this deed that left Paul McCauley imprisoned in his own body for almost nine years and now dead. I have no doubt that the sacrifice and Grace of Jesus Christ may have been known to them too, but they chose to ignore it and were overtaken by the forces of evil."

A plea to those within the unionist and loyalist community to help the McCauley family see justice for their son was made by Fr Canny and echoed afterwards by Bishop Good.

Bishop Good said that the assault on Paul McCauley was horrific.

He said: "There can be no excuse for the violent attack upon Paul McCauley and no justification for it. Nor should there be any hiding place for those who carried it out. Their crime has appalled the people of this city."

Belfast Telegraph

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