McIlveen family invite Paisley to Michael’s funeral

Calling for a time of healing in the town, Francis McIlveen has invited Ian Paisley to attend the funeral saying:

“”I would like him to be there. He was the first one to ring me at the hospital. He is the MP for the area and, to me, he has the right to be there.It doesn’t matter what anybody else says, it is what we want.”

The invite came on the same day five were charged with Michael’s murder.

  • Doctor Who


    If you call the political point scoring, the whataboutery, the condemanation of what what paisley what or what might not do and the down right insensitivity with which a lot of posters are treating this, well stop shaving the dog and staret reading.

    Read the first post for christ sake.

    Never let the thugs win. Especially the ones that twenty years ago would be spouting their shit on CB instead of a PC.

  • Doctor Who


    Do you not think you should be taking that up with the trolls on OWC, instead of trolling here.

    You sick bastard.

  • Tiny

    Paisley is about to deminstrate why Ministers of Religion should’t be politicians

  • missfitz

    You know Doc, as soon as I read damo’s post I could see your point. I try to ignore the worst of the eejits, and find that there is no point trying to have a debate with some people, but that last post from damo really was qute sick and twisted.

    I dunno, trying to keep a moderate line becomes really hard when you read that old crap about passing ‘more suitable’ pizza places, or wearing a football shirt. Downright disgusting.

    I suppose I should say that the legitimate posters appear to be decent folk, but tragedies like this bring out the worst from the woodwork.

    On another point though, there is an inevitability about the discussion on Paisley’s attendance. I saw someone else point out that this is a political Board, and this is a political country and we will talk politics. It would take vision, courage and leadership for him to go.

    I’ve seen how he cares for his constituents, and to be honest, Baby doc sounded really shook up on the radio Monday morning.

    Anything is possible and if he goes it will be the most positive thing to happen in years.

  • damo
  • Sam

    Interesting insight into the kind of rationalisation going on for this appalling crime: it must be the family, and the Celtic shirt made them do it…not making excuses…but the Celtic shirts just incite it…

    It’s both sick and sad. Like the bebo site, ‘ourweecountry’ is a bit of a reality check, compared to a lot of pious cant and condemnation.

  • Rubicon

    Michael’s mother was wearing the shirt he was killed wearing for no other reason than to feel close to the son robbed from her. It may be difficult to truly understand the devastation caused the McIlveen family, but surely just a sense of humanity would understand why Michael’s mum would grieve in this way.

    Dr. Who – I don’t think demo was posting that extract out of any sense of support for the views expressed. I think he/she was clear about that in the posting. I’d not have seen that info if it hadn’t been posted and I’m glad he/she did. It exposes the lack of humanity that is sectarianism – an illness that some attempt to disguise, excuse and blame upon its victims.

    As for Paisley attending – isn’t the funeral on Monday? Could be a difficult date for Paisley – even if he was minded to go.

  • Sam

    I don’t think there was any confusion, just a wish to ignore the information and blame the messenger instead.

    Classic denial.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    When a mother has her son beaten to death…her loss and feelings must be overwhelming…for someone to comment they don’t like what the woman is wearing and that she is somehow inciting violence because she is wearing a shirt of a soccer team they don’t like-for what ever reason- is one of the most disgusting comments I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t until I wrote this down that I realized the mother of Michael shares the suffering of the mother of Jesus…both had innocent sons beaten and killed.

  • missfitz

    There’s a demonstration being organised at Stormont on Monday to persuade the powers to go to power. Wonder if it will still go off?

  • Stephen Copeland


    … the entire catholic cabinet of the ROI sat in cars outside the presbyterian church during the funeral of the ROIs first president (Hyde).

    I know you are trolling, but nonetheless, just to set the record straight, let me quote from Wikipedia concerning Douglas Hyde’s life and death:

    1. In April 1938, by now retired from academia, Douglas was plucked from retirement by Taoiseach Éamon de Valera and again appointed to Seanad Éireann. Again his tenure proved short, even shorter than before. But this time it was because, on the suggestion of Fine Gael in inter-party negotiations to choose a first President of Ireland, Hyde had been chosen to take on the office. He was selected for a number of reasons.

    Both the Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera and the Leader of the Opposition, W.T. Cosgrave were admirers of his;
    Both wanted to purge the humiliation that had occurred when he had lost his Senate seat in 1925
    [SC: this was aa sectarian hate campaign carrried out in Kevin Myers new home, the Irish Indo];
    Both wanted a president who would prove that there was no danger that the new president would become an authoritarian dictator in Ireland, a widespread fear when the new constitution was being discussed in 1937;
    Both wanted to pay tribute to Hyde’s Conradh na nGaeilge role in achieving Irish independence.
    Both wanted to choose a non-Catholic to disprove the assertion that the State was a “confessional state”.

    2. As a former President of Ireland he was accorded a state funeral. One protocol problem arose; as an Anglican his funeral service took place in Dublin’s Church of Ireland St. Patrick’s Cathedral. However contemporary religious rules prohibited Roman Catholics from attending services in Protestant churches. As a result all but one member of the Catholic cabinet (Dr. Noel Browne) remained outside the cathedral while Hyde’s funeral took place. They then joined the cortège when his coffin left the cathedral. Eamon de Valera, by now Leader of the Opposition, was represented by a senior Fianna Fáil figure who was a member of the Church of Ireland, Erskine Childers, a future President of Ireland himself.

    I have said before, and I repeat it here again – Paisley can do likewise. He can ‘remain outside’ the religious ceremony, but join the cortège. That way he will only be 57 years behind the southern situation. In civilised countries nowadays people leave their prejudice and bigotry outside the doors and go in and pay their respects in person. I don’t really expect Paisley to do that, after all he is an old man and is unlikely to change the habits of a lifetime. But it would be nice if he did.

  • bertie


    I’m going to toally disagree. It would be very unnice if he bowed to pressure to go against his religios convictions and pander to religious intolerance, which is ironically what he is accused of. Attending the funeral but not being involved in the mass would be totally appropriate. At a fmaily funeral a few years ago in the Republic many RCs were in the CoI church and amny more stayed outside. Those that stayed outside are just as worthy of my repsect as those who came in. They all came to pay their respects in a way that was appropriate to them. I personnally would attend an RC funeral mass. I would not be terribly comfortable doing it but not to the degree that it conflicts with my principles. That in no way makes be better than someone who would stop short at that.

  • briso

    I’m going to toally disagree. … Attending the funeral but not being involved in the mass would be totally appropriate.

    I think I would characterise that statement as totally agreeing with SC!!!!

  • APW

    Lee, a wee historical anecdote re Orangemen. IKP and funeral masses.

    My father has been an Orangeman for 50+ years.

    He remembers Paisley speaking at a rally in a rural Orange Hall in 1970. At the time Paisley had called for Harry West to be expelled from the Orange Order because he attended the funeral of Cahir Healy, a Nationalist MP for Fermanagh at Stormont.

    My father told Paisley that he was an Orangeman (unlike him) but had never had the opportunity to attend a funeral in a RC Church. However, he hoped he would live long enough to do so. If any brethren had a problem with that they could try to expel him if they so wanted. In subsequent years he has attended numerous RC funerals, been in many chapels and no body has tried to expel him. He is still an Orangeman, Paisley still isn’t.
    BTW he quietly dropped his campaign against Harry West.

    If the family have asked him to attend as the local MP he should do so. No ifs or buts.

  • Shore Road Resident

    The Mirror this morning has called on Paisley to attend the funeral – church service included.

    I agree and I don’t want to denigrate from the tragedy or the seriousness of the situation, but you’d need a heart of stone not be enjoying the dilemma Paisley is in over this.

  • bertie


    “That way he will only be 57 years behind the southern situation”

    SC was still implying that even if he was part of the cortage there was something lacking. I may have picked him up wrong though.

  • bertie

    “you’d need a heart of stone not be enjoying the dilemma Paisley is in over this.”

    Sorry but I think that you would need to have a heart of stone to have this attitude at a time like this. Paisley seems to have struck a chord with the family and given them something that was appreciated. I also beleive that the family will understand whatever he decides to do.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Self-serving nonsense, Bertie. I think that forcing Paisley to backtrack on a lifetime of opportunistic ‘anti-romanism’ would be the best memorial Michael McIlveen could possibly have.

  • ncm


    nice post, agree totally. The pressure’s on him now, as a direct result of preaching hate for so long.

  • Occasional Commentator

    According to the DI today, DUP councillor Roy Gillespie has said Michael has no chance of getting into heaven because he is a Catholic. (Apologies if I’m not the first to point this out).

    Paisley wouldn’t repeat anything like that, remember the sympathetic statement on the Pope’s death? I’m guessing there won’t be any comment from the leadership on Gillespie’s comment.

  • Loyalist

    As a DUP voter I am utterly repulsed by these remarks. Some of the hicks we have in local government need a damn good talking to/deselected.

  • disgusted

    Roy Gillespie has absolutely no respect for the grief of the family – whatever has been said about Ian Paisley, his view and attitude seem light years ahead of that muppet.

    Gillespie does not in any way represent me and it seems that there are a cabal of Ballymena Councillors who have absolutely no grip on reality.

  • bertie

    Roy Gillespie is fully entitled to this view and I would suspect he holds similar views on us Anglicans. However expressing them at this time is a disgrace. The only possible mitigations would be if he was asked the question. Even then though he could surely have found some way of avaoiding answering. He is a politician after all. If he just offered then it is unforgivable.

    I cannot imagine that God is smiling on him for this.

  • rafa benitez
  • Sam

    The DUP select such people with such views, like Ian Paisley, because they’re popular with their electorate.

    They are perfectly normal within the DUP, or the Orange Order (and their teachings on ‘the fatal errors of the Church of Rome’). In light of the invitation to Ian Paisley, Gillespie may be reminding the leader of his avowed beliefs.

    Obviously the timing is embarrassing to unionists, hence the interpretation that this was really a sectarian attack for the Daily Ireland to ask the DUP Ballymena councillor for his views; or that out of ‘respect’ Gillespie should keep quiet about them, to show the appropiate level of hypocrisy.

  • Bertie says: “Roy Gillespie is fully entitled to this view and I would suspect he holds similar views on us Anglicans However expressing them at this time is a disgrace. ”

    No Bertie. Holding them now is a disgrace. Just as they always were and always will be a disgrace.

  • bertie


    So you do not consider him entitled to hold his views about the requirements to get into heaven?

    So much for religious tolerance!

  • Rubicon

    Bertie – you believe holding these views is legitimate but expressing then at this time is not?

    I beg to disagree. I do not consider racists hold legitimate views. I don’t believe the KKK or BNP hold legitimate views and I don’t consider Gillespie’s views are legitimate – whether they’re rapped up in a religious dogma or not. Freedom of religion does not stretch to facilitating the fermentation of hate. It is an issue that Muslims are concerned to tackle within their own community and one we need to tackle here too.

    It is in exposing and challenging the type of views espoused by the likes of Gillespie that the much needed attack on sectarianism needs to do. I hope it results in cutting short the political careers of the likes of Gillespie.

  • bertie

    I do not accept that having a belief about who does or does not go to heaven or hell is anything to do with hate. Gillespie may or may not hate RCs, I don’t know. Those from his brand of Protestantism tend to beleive that signifucant section of what would be considered my community are also going to hell. He is perfectly entitled to think that I am going to hell. I would hope that if my time comes to go whereever, he would not feel the need to point this out to whoever if anyone would mourne my passing.

    If I was voting in his contituency, I would not be put off from voting for him because he felt this way about my prospects in the hereafter. His political savvy on the other hand would have me looking elsewhere.

    Similarly of it could be proved to me that this man advocates intimidation and discrimination as advanced by the KKK and the BNP then that too would lose him my vote, but not his belief on the entry requirements for heaven.

  • Rubicon

    I think you’re simplifying the issue Bertie.

    I believe Gillespie’s comments dehumanise Catholics and that the argument that goes, “I’ve nothing against Catholics it’s just their beliefs I oppose” is a bogus attempt to escape being criticised for being sectarian. Religions need to express themselves positively by stating what they do believe not what they oppose – particularly when it damns the adherents of an entire religious belief system to hell.

    It may be that Gillespie also believes Anglicans are damned but there is not a fundamentalist belief system that leads to the targeting of Anglicans. Gillespie was specific in mentioning the Catholic religion and a member of the Catholic faith recently murdered by sectarian thugs.

    For me, I believe that to be illegitimate and should give reason for reflection by those who have supported this character – before they allow him to be representative of them again.

  • bertie


    I’m sorry but because he has religious views that you and as it happens I disagree with does not make them not legitimate. Should he somehow change his belief about the entry requirements for heaven because there are people in our society who think that duffing people up because of their religion is OK? My religous beleifs do not change because of the behaviour of what are deemed to be my co-religionists, why should his?

    We’re all going round in circles here and we are not going to agree.

  • Harry

    Bertie, the man has been exposed as a nutter, a religious extremist. That is the point. He chose to say what he said about Michael McIlveen at this time – that is enough to be instructive for us all. Gillepsie along with all the other religious fundamentalists hold political positions in Ballymena. These men are protestant extremists. A catholic child has been killed for his religion in Ballymena. See the connection? That is why it is correct to highlight this man’s views at this time; it shows the nature of the situation from which this killing has come about.

    If you think nationalists are going to keep their heads down and subscribe to the ‘all sides must pull back from the brink’ kind of suppression of their proper and indignant outrage at what has happened then I think you might be sadly mistaken. First target in the crosshairs is this representative of the slobbering, closed-minded stupidity which led to this murder. I hope to see many more hauled out before the court of public opinion to have their vicious ideas analysed and mauled.

  • Realist


    In relating to the post on OWC, why did you omit the opening words of the poster?

    They read as follows:

    “This was a horrific, inexcusable crime, an indictment on attitudes and prejudices in this country, a warning against hatred and the perpetrators must be punished severely. That is my bottom line, so don’t get me wrong, those are facts and what I’m about to say are merely observations.”

    One might be excused for thinking that your own prejudices have been somewhat exposed.

    Having perused the OWC site, I am unable to find ONE poster who justifies this henious crime.

  • kensei


    “I’m not a bigot but…….”

    Not good enough anymore.

  • Damo


    I highlighted the sectarian and utterly offensive parts of the posts on the n.i football site.

    I then thought that some fellow eejit would try to justify his remarks here on slugger so i posted a link to the thread so people could make up their own minds.

    To quote from one of the offensive posts..

    “It appears now that the lad was wearing a Celtic top as he went to a pizza establishment quite a distance from his house, beside a very loyalist housing estate past a number of much closer ones. Excuses nothing, but foolhardy nevertheless.”

    The young lad was at the cinema with his friends ffs.

    He went on to say

    “Firstly, we here the family ‘claim’ that they have been attacked several times since arriving in Ballymena by “themmuns” once in the Tower Centre.”

    Has this knuckle dragger no shame, a mother has lost her son and states that it was not the first time the family had suffered at the hands of thugs.

    I find it a very understandable thing to say, in the same way that someone who had not had previous experience would say ‘its never happened beore’.

    It seems there are those who will always try to talk away or justify sectarian murder and hatred.

    A sad reflection of a bitter and twisted mentality, in my opinion.

  • john o neill

    I post on a UCC student forum under cork john, and the issue was of Michael’s murder. An issue arose with I posting Kerrs bebo, not alone was the bebo adress of Kerrs removed from the forum but I was threatened with being banned. The reason I objected is I believe it restricts the right of free speech.

  • Cork “censorship: The Bebo site has got plenty of airing by now. It is the DUP/UUP political extremists behind the klllers who need to be put under the spotlight.

  • Realist


    I have perused the thread in question on the OWC site and find absolutely no support or justification for the murder whatsoever.

    Thank you for posting the link. It seems that the overwhelming majority of contributors to the thread are vociferous in their condemnation of the cowardly and barbaric attack on young McIlveen.

    As you say, I’m sure readers will be able to make up their own minds.

  • Realist


    Were you not taught a wee lesson about labeling, broadbrushing and making assumptions about large swathes of people on here recently?

    I recall that you’re a Leeds United “fan”.

  • Parish Pump Action

    How about this?

    The McIlveen family happen to be Ian Paisley’s constitutents and he’s entitled to offer his condolences at the funeral. He’s helped the family before. However, it’s now emerged that the IRA put the McIlveen out of their previous home. NONE of the Irish MSM or blogging brigade have asked “WHY?”. So, if the IRA had not done this, MickyBO would be alive today.


  • Alan Law


    Michael’s mother wore the shirt he died in?
    I know the PSNI don’t always get things right, but there is no way, no ifs, ands or buts, this item of clothing would represent a forensic exhibit and would not be available for wearing.

    In relation to the odd comments on the NI Footie forum:
    There are other pizza places in Ballymena? Yea, but only one pizza hut. Pretty darned lame excuse.

    The truth of this story is a long, long way from being uncovered, but irrespective of what unravels, a 15 year old child was murdered. Nothing excuses that. Nothing.

    True, atleast one of the accused is a catholic. One went to a integrated school and others a respected grammar school.



    It’s not unlikely that that shirt the child was wearing when he died was not the same one he had on when attacked, given the time that time passed between the two events.

  • Global

    Kid comes home – he’s beat up but seemingly OK – goes to bed – takes convulsions – rushed to hospital – celtic shirt is not on him when he goes.

  • MCGURK-qqqs=commentandanalysis-qqqid=14370-qqqx=1.asp

    Tom McGurk nails Mad Dog Paisley here. Paisley should be charged and cnvicted of incitement and the key thrown away.

  • Let’s hope the link works this time as McGurk is a good writer, ie he generally agrees with me, even if he is somewhat partial to rugby. Many years ago, in his Hibernia days, he wrote a great piece linking the GAA at local level to the H Block protest.

  • missfitz

    Just need to copy the link in full and paste it to browser, and it will work

    Paisley believes the Taigs killed McIlveen. Kinda like the UVF/UUP here who get shocked when they hear some loyal sons of Ulster might actually stone a car.

    Let’s try again with Tom McGurk’s excellent piece
    The McGurk article is worth a read.

  • David Michael

    McGurk’s piece closes with:

    “Perhaps the DUP have changed their spots; maybe they do want to create a new society. But instead of tip-toeing to a Ballymena funeral, perhaps the moment has come when they might publicly address a sectarian crisis in the North that still has the power to kill?”

    For DUP read Ian Paisley, as the article centred on him. Maybe he has changed, although you wouldn’t think it, watching him in the Commons on the day of the funeral. His thrust was that both sides are responsible for sectarian outrages in Ballymena, and he called on Blair to provide more police. Complex problem, simple solution.

    Mark Durkan, bless him, did not see fit to inform the House of the true situation in Ballymena. The other Members could be seen shaking their heads sadly and presumably thinking, “Those pesky fightin’ Irish again. Do let’s move on, Mr Speaker.”

  • Alan Law

    At some point a discussion needs to take place, as to how, in a town where blanket Police CCTV coverage exists, a group of up to 100 youths involved in an altercation went unnoticed.
    So more policing? To do what exactly?
    The Big Brother society we now live in has created a notion that the cameras provide security, how was this missed…how?
    The PSNI are linking their enquiries to CCTV coverage but that seems to be a case of after the horse has bolted. What is the point of these cameras if they don’t provide a way to prevent murders and other crimes?

  • David Michael

    I once passed a very educational morning with the Dublin City police in their nerve centre in O’Connell Street. I watched in amazement as banks of CCTV cameras monitored the beats of a score or so of cops. The cameras could pan remotely, zoom in on signs of trouble. They even had wipers in the event of rain!

    Given the king’s ransom that’s been invested in the PSNI over the years and the hi-tech gear I see them using, I’m asking the same question as Alan:

    “how was this missed…how?”

    Answer time for the PSNI I think. Which MP is going to do the asking?

  • Alan Law

    I appreciate that many of you will be unfamiliar with the local area in question so maybe this will help.

    At the entrance to Sainsbury’s a Police CCTV camera is situated, it can pan round, zoom etc over the IMC Cinema / Pizza Hut car park, where the inital incident took place.
    Behind the Cinema a further camera is located which would cover all exits North and would be the only direction Michael McIlveen and any assailants on foot would have travelled.

    The area where the final attack took place is not covered by CCTV.

    It was however, in a reasonably quite residential area, and unless the people are deaf they must have heard something.

    One final point, I have used the term Police CCTV, the camera scheme is actually run by Ballymena Borough Council. The police have live access to all the cameras.

  • David Michael

    “The area where the final attack took place is not covered by CCTV.”

    Hot damn! Would the bastards have known they could jump Michael there with impunity? Chilling thought.

  • Alan Law

    The incident took place starting at 10 and then follow the map along Tardree Grove, Glenshesk Drive, Glenravel Park, Glenville Drive (note the small entrance to the car park, accessible by pedestrian and is an alley way), anyone running along here would be cut off by those pursuing.

    Whilst this may contribute to some understanding of events, it does not and must not, take us away from the real problem which is the simple fact that this crime was as a result of hate. Plain and simple and nothing more.

  • Rubicon

    Alan Law – you posted, “Michael’s mother wore the shirt he died in? I know the PSNI don’t always get things right, but there is no way, no ifs, ands or buts, this item of clothing would represent a forensic exhibit and would not be available for wearing.

    Sorry I didn’t get back earlier on this but I was in Cardiff – no apologies for that (VERY disappointed at there not being a thread of congratulations here!)

    On the shirt issue – the source was the Irish News published on 11th May under the headline of “Michael’s grieving family prepare for final farewell” and written by Maeve Connolly. She wrote, “Still wearing the bloodstained Celtic football shirt which Michael had been wearing the night he died, she said she ‘loved” Ballymena and would stay in the town but that sectarianism in the area “had to stop”.”

    It could well be that you distrust the press – and I’ll not argue with you about that. It could also be that your instinct is to trust the police and I wonder (now that I’ve given you the source) whether you’ll now question that trust? You were emphatic in your conviction – will you now question the police?

  • Alan Law

    Its not a question of trusting anyone…it’s just that you couldn’t reasonably believe that the PSNI (who are far from perfect) wouldn’t seize the clothing as forensic exhibits.

    Everyone wants those responsible brought to justice, an any evidence, no matter how small will be needed. Clothing would be a significant exhibit.

    That was the thrust of my point and was not in anyway supporting or questionning anyone.

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