Mourners line streets for murdered postman

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The Independent Online

The teenage girlfriend of Belfast's latest murder victim bade a moving farewell to her partner, the father of her year-old child, as his funeral took place in Belfast. Daniel McColgan, 20, was shot dead on Saturday by loyalist assassins, who have in effect left Lindsey Milliken a widowed mother at the age of just 17.

At the end of the service, she said: "Daniel, may your soul not be afraid. May you be given the blessing and shelter you need. May there be a beautiful welcome in the home you have gone to. May you rest in peace knowing that we truly loved and cared for you."

More than 2,000 people attended the funeral, postal colleagues lining the streets around his mother's home. At the funeral, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, the Right Rev Patrick Walsh, said the murderviolatedthree basic rights that must be upheld in any civilised society: the right to work, the right to profess one's religion, and the right to life.

Bishop Walsh described the victim as "a hard-working young man, earning an honest living, serving the entire community as a postal worker, gunned down by gunmen who were in effect saying: you have no right to be working as a postal worker, you have no right to be working here at this office because you are a Catholic."

Police are questioning two men in connection with the incident. One is a prominent local figure, who was reportedly a member of the now-disbanded Ulster Democratic Party, the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association.

The UDA has admitted carrying out the killing, which has generated an unusually high level of emotion and dismay in Northern Ireland. The fact that Mr McColgan, who also worked as a disc-jockey, was a hard-working family man means his death is regarded as particularly pointless and poignant.

Loyalists warnings have been issued against postmen and Catholic schoolteachers, causing more concern. A further threat yesterday emerged from a minor republican group, the Irish National Liberation Army, which said it might attack Protestant staff at a Marks & Spencer premises on the outskirts of north Belfast. A number of INLA bombs were seized by police in north Belfast last week.

Sinn Fein condemned the INLA threat, saying: "The last thing now needed is for a supposed nationalist organisation to direct threats at Protestant workers. Sectarianism has no place on a republican agenda."

Trade unions are organising a half-day stoppage from noon to midnight on Friday to protest against attacks on workers. There isuncertainty over whether all schools and workplaces will be forced to close down completely.

Jim Barbour, of the Fire Brigades Union, said fire service workers would attend rallies, but would then return to providing services. He added: "We are on the verge of a sectarian abyss and it is incumbent on all workers to follow the lead set. It is essential to send the signal to the men of violence that their activities have to stop."

The CBI said many companies would be reluctant to see a half-day closure of their businesses. A spokesman explained: "We can show our abhorrence of sectarianism without necessarily taking half a day off work."