The man targeted by the loyalist mob in Portadown still in the hospital

Posted By: July 04, 2018

The man targeted by the loyalist mob in Portadown still in the hospital
A loyalist mob linked to a bonfire at Edenderry have been linked to a sectarian assault

 Allison Morris. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A CATHOLIC man dragged from a car in Portadown and beaten by a loyalist mob in a vicious sectarian attack, is still being treated in hospital for his injuries.

The unprovoked attack, which took place in front of horrified passers-by on Sunday afternoon in the Bridge Street area, has been described by police as “vicious.”

A 28-year-old man was arrested in Lurgan this morning on suspicion of crimes including common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage. 

The front windscreen of the Renault Clio was smashed, and up to eight men dragged the man from the front passenger seat of the car as it stopped at traffic lights.

It is thought he was identified as Catholic by the football jersey he was wearing.

The driver of the car was also assaulted but has since been released from the hospital. A woman and two-month-old baby, who were in the back seat, were not injured.

The incident happened almost a week after a bonfire was prematurely set alight in the Edenderry area of the Co Armagh town.

Following the fire, threats to nationalist residents were posted on social media by a number of Portadown-based loyalists.

Loyalists had been gathering in the area ahead of a bonfire which was lit on Monday night.

While the majority of loyalist bonfires are lit on July 11, the Edenderry bonfire is normally lit on Somme Day on July 1.

As it fell on a Sunday this year, the bonfire took place on Monday night.

Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor Paul Duffy described the attack as “appalling” and said he believes loyalists may have targeted the victim because of the football shirt he was wearing.

“Those responsible should face the full force of the law,” he said.

“The resounding message must be that there is absolutely no place for sectarianism in our society. I urge the local community to rally behind this message,” he said.

It is believed that CCTV may have captured some of those involved and police also appealed for anyone with dashcam footage to get in touch.

PSNI Chief Inspector Jon Burrows described the attack as “cowardly.”

“We know people witnessed it – we need their help,” he said.

“There have been a number of sectarian crimes in the Craigavon and Portadown areas recently.

“Let us be clear; we work hard with communities and partners for good relations and peaceful summers. However, actions have consequences for those who break the law,” Insp Burrows added.