BRUTAL MURDER BID IN NORTH BELFAST
A savage sectarian attack has left a Catholic father-of-one
Paul Denvir lost an eye after he was brutally beaten by a gang
brandishing hammers and machetes as he walked home from a bar
on the Shore Road on the outskirts of north Belfast.
The Loyalist Action Force - a cover name used by loyalist
paramilitaries - yesterday claimed responsibility for the
murder bid in a telephone call to a Belfast newsroom using a
A gang of four men attacked the 37-year-old from the Whitewell
area moments after leaving the Boundary Bar on the Shore Road
on Sunday night.
One of the gang hit him on the back of the head with a claw
hammer. The blow knocked him out and he was then
systematically beaten about the head before his attackers fled
in the direction of Newtownabbey.
Sinn Fein north Belfast representative, Gerry Kelly appealed
for "a strong voice from with unionism" to bring such attacks
to an end.
"This is a very serious incident and we are extremely lucky
that we are not dealing with the killing of another
nationalist at the hands of loyalists," he said
"I am calling for calm in the light of this attack and urge
"In the past three months, despite relative calm at some
interface areas, loyalist violence has persisted with over
180 separate attacks. This does not account however for the
nightly attacks and harassment that occur which largely
"I am also calling on a strong voice from within unionism to
come and stand against these attacks.
"There is an onus on all political parties, but especially
unionists, to use what ever influence they have, such as their
place within the Loyalist Commission, to bring these attacks
to an end once and for all."
The 'Loyalist Action Force' claimed the attack was in
retaliation for an attack on a Protestant bar.
The group also lifted a death threat against prominent
Catholic clergyman Father Dan Whyte, who was told his life was
in danger on the eve of the annual Cemetery Sunday service in
Carnmoney in September - day marred by loyalist violence.
Last night Father Whyte said he was "horrified" by the
"To be told on the one hand that a death threat is lifted and
then to claim responsibility for bringing an innocent Catholic
to death's door, how do you think that makes me feel?," he
"The fact that there was a car seen prowling the public road
in the early hours of the morning, obviously on the look-out
for innocent Catholics to be attacked. It is a very big worry
for the local Catholic community."
"He went to order a taxi but the girl told him there wouldn't
be one for 20 minutes, so he decided to walk," his brother
"He doesn't remember anything about it (the attack). His
injuries were very severe. You don't lose an eye for nothing.
Mr Denvir, who is now in stable condition in hospital, has
undergone several hours of reconstructive surgery to his face.
Such was the brutality and frenzied nature of the attack that
as well as losing an eye, surgeons had to remove a tooth
lodged in his throat.
Mr Denvir said he had braced himself for death.
"I was in that much pain, I couldn't feel it, I just wanted to
go (to die)," he said.