06 February 2006

Appeal for calm as attacks follow father's feud killing

Belfast Telegraph

By Marie Foy
06 February 2006

A RELATIVE of murdered father-of-six Gerard Devlin today appealed for calm in west Belfast as police investigate a number of fires in the area.

The 39-year-old was stabbed to death as he picked up his children in the Whitecliffe Parade area of Ballymurphy on Friday afternoon.

Two men arrested in connection with the killing were today still being questioned by police.

Two of Mr Devlin's relatives were also seriously injured during the brutal attack.

The row has been linked to a long-running dispute between the murder victim's relatives and some members of another local family.

Mr Devlin had moved out of the area after an agreement was reached regarding the affair.

Mr Devlin's aunt, Bernadette O'Rawe, said that he had only returned to Ballymurphy for 15 minutes to collect his children when he was targeted.

"He was making a new life for himself - he had moved out of the district.

"He came in to take his kids out," she said.

The family had been planning to move to Glenavy in Co Antrim.

Several homes in Dermot Hill sustained minor damage after they were attacked with petrol bombs on Saturday night.

Detectives are investigating claims that the incidents are linked to the killing.

Mrs O'Rawe has appealed for all attacks and trouble in the area to stop.

"We want any talk of feuds to end.

"We condemn what has been going on with houses and shops burning," she said.

"We are not responsible, we don't know who is responsible. We want to make it clear that this sort of thing isn't helping our cause."

Mrs O'Rawe said that the family had not had time to come to terms with their grief because of the trouble which had flared.

Mr Devlin's funeral is expected to be held on Wednesday.

Sinn Fein councillor Marie Cush said: "Feelings are still running high over this senseless murder.

"Community workers are doing their best to keep a lid on the situation and they are doing their best to ensure that no-one else loses their lives.

"The main focus now should be about respecting the Devlin family's right to be allowed to bury their loved one in peace."

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