UDA violence cover-up

The parents of a County Derry man in a coma after being beaten and left for dead by a UDA murder gang have accused the political establishment of turning a blind eye to unionist paramilitary violence.

Paul McCauley remains in a coma at Altnagelvin hospital, more than three months after he was attacked with two others as they cleared up after a barbecue in his friend's garden.

His skull was crushed in an attack so brutal doctors told his family had just four days to live following a two-hour operation on his brain.

Remarkably he managed to confound medical experts and cling to life - although his future remains uncertain.

His father, Jim McCauley, said the family were surprised when earlier this month the Independent Monitoring Commission linked the attack to the UDA.

The family had been told that the PSNI were treating the attack as sectarian, but it had not been disclosed that the UDA was directly involved.

The assault on Paul and his friends followed a spate of sectarian attacks in the city.

"They set out to murder him," Mr McCauley said.

"That's what you do if you want to murder somebody and you don't have a weapon. You go for their head like that."

Mr McCauley said it was time politicians in the north showed leadership and addressed the threat posed by unionist paramilitary groups.

"This was a murder gang. This is the brutality that politicians seem to have turned a blind eye to in the void that has been maintained in Northern Ireland," he said.

"They seem to have ignored more pressing issues like the violence and the fact that proscribed organisations are still showing a degree of strength.

"Why has most pressure focused on the IRA and not focused on the other side? They have dealt in distractions.

"This has happened partly because [the North] lacks political leadership."

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© 2006 Irish Republican News