Belfast Telegraph

Omagh violence: urgent talks held in wake of killing

By Adrian Rutherford

Community leaders have held urgent talks over the growing incidence of violent crime in Omagh following the brutal killing of Jason McGovern.

The crisis meeting came as police made two more arrests in connection with the teenager’s murder.

The 19-year-old from Tydavnet in Co Monaghan died after being attacked twice while on a night out with friends.

Yesterday, detectives revealed that a 17-year-old youth and a 19-year-old man — both from the Omagh area — were being questioned in connection with the killing.

A second teenager (18) arrested on Wednesday remains in custody.

However, a 21-year-old man has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr McGovern was assaulted outside the Terrace Bar around 2am on Monday. He was attacked again as he got into a taxi.

Jason made his way to a friend’s house near Emyvale where he was found dead on Monday.

His death follows a particularly violent Christmas and new year period in Omagh.

Police said they dealt with 20 incidents of assaults, disorderly behaviour and criminal damage in an eight-hour period on the evening of Friday, December 21, known as Black-eye Friday.

The surge in violent crime prompted an urgent meeting of the town’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership yesterday.

Its chairman, Allan Rainey, said it was in direct response to Mr McGovern’s death.

“Omagh is popular for its nightlife and attracts a lot of people, and it is unbelievable that this tragedy should occur and mar our reputation,” he said.

“It prompted us to take immediate action to examine the situation and see what lessons can be learned.”

Police have dealt with a series of assaults, including injuries to seven officers and several members of the public, over the past fortnight.

Businessman Mickey McElroy, who owns several pubs in Omagh, said there was a responsibility on bar owners to play their part in reducing crime.

Meanwhile, the McGovern family is still waiting for Jason’s body to be returned as the PSNI investigation is still ongoing.

DCI Richard Harkness, who is leading the PSNI investigation, said there appears to be little motive for the violent attack.

Belfast Telegraph


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