A Portadown man was seriously injured in a vicious sectarian assault on Sunday.
Charles Brown, a Catholic from a mixed family, was attacked, was attacked by up to 30 loyalists in a bar on the town’s High Street.
A short time afterwards, some time between 8pm and 8.20pm, a disturbance broke out during which Mr Brown, a Catholic from a mixed family, was attacked.
He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where surgeons successfully battled to save his eye.
“I was called a fenian b****** and they told me that I would be shot,” Mr Brown said.
“I didn’t recognise (the crowd who beat me). They may have been from Portadown but they weren’t regulars in the bar.”
Mr Brown said his father and half his family were Protest-ants and that he mixed with both sides of the community.
“I don’t want my Protestant friends to think I am saying anything about them. I have friends on both sides of the community and I am not politically-minded,” he said.
“I don’t know how (the gang) knew I was a Catholic. It would be a very mixed bar and they may have got the information off someone.”
Mr Brown said if he had succumbed to the initial assualt, he would have been killed.
“I was taking a drink and had the glass to my head when one of them struck me in the back of the head with a bottle. I had to get 10 or 15 stitches in my head for it,” Mr Brown said.
“Then I spun around to see where it had come from and I got another bottle straight in the face.
“It’s lucky enough I am a big fellow and I didn’t go down, because had I gone down it would have been the end of me.
“I ran out of the pub, but I didn’t know where I was going. I was blind with the blood. The talk from the decent Protestant people who were in the place is that if I hadn’t got out it would have been Goodnight Irene.”
SDLP Upper Bann assembly member Dolores Kelly said the incident was a “vicious assault against a defenceless man”.
“Portadown has suffered for too long from sectarian attacks and that needs to be challenged,” she said.