11 February 2006

SDLP man's tribute to UVF killer

Belfast Telegraph

By Brian Hutton
11 February 2006

A prominent SDLP figure has paid tribute to a former RUC and UVF killer who died this week.

Ballymena councillor Declan O'Loan said that Billy McCaughey deserved recognition for positive developments within loyalism.

"There is no doubt that Billy McCaughey was responsible for some terrible things in the past," said Mr O'Loan.

"Some of his local contributions were disruptive and unhelpful, even up to quite recent times.

"But I have talked to him at length and I have no doubt that much of his thinking was forward looking and progressive."

McCaughey was jailed for the murder of a Catholic shopkeeper in Ahoghill in 1977.

He also admitted shooting a customer at the Rock Bar near Keady, Co Armagh, in 1976 during a botched bomb attack carried out along with two other serving RUC officers.

McCaughey was also jailed for kidnapping Ahoghill parish priest Fr Hugh Murphy in June 1978 with another police officer.

Later he became North Antrim representative for the PUP and a member of the party's executive.

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