02 September 2005

PUP criticised over murder vote

BBC

The aunt of a north Belfast man killed during a loyalist feud has criticised the PUP leader for not supporting a council motion condemning his murder.

David Ervine left Belfast City Council chamber before the vote on a motion condemning the killing of Craig McCausland.

Cathy McIlvenny said Sinn Fein members supported her campaign for justice.

Mr McCausland, 20, was murdered on 11 July by three men who burst into his home at Dhu Varren Park.

Sinn Fein councillors remained in the chamber during the debate but abstained from voting.

Ms McIlvenny, who was in the public gallery during the debate, said: "What would concern me... was the fact that David Ervine decided to leave the chamber and didn't take a vote on the motion that was put forward.

Meeting agreed

"I'd like David Ervine to condemn Craig's murder. If he can't do it through his political grouping, then as a person, just to condemn it as a murder."

Afterwards, Mr Ervine agreed to a meeting with the McCausland family.

Asked if he condemned the murder, Mr Ervine said he could "condemn anything you want me to condemn".

"In real terms, you would have to worry about whether I meant it or not," he said.

"I condemn all of it, it's tragic, it's shameful and I can tell you, eleven years after ceasefire, no one is more wounded and gutted than me and people in the Progress Unionist Party who, I think, have risked life and tried really hard."

Mr McCausland's family had written to city councillors asking for their help in bringing his killers to justice.

His death was linked to loyalist feuding, however his family and the police said he was not a member of any paramilitary organisation.

The 20-year-old's partner and her two children, aged nine and six, were in the house when the was murdered.

Although there have been arrests, no-one has been charged over the murder.

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