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N Irish police question men after Catholic killed

Written by: Staff
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BELFAST, May 9 (Reuters) Police in Northern Ireland questioned five men today over the weekend killing of a 15-year-old Catholic boy who was beaten to death.

Michael McIlveen was attacked by a gang on Saturday night and died in hospital yesterday.

Politicians condemned the attack as sectarian. Tensions between pro-British Protestants and Irish Roman Catholics rise at this time of year ahead of the traditional Protestant marching season in the British province.

Northern Ireland has largely been peaceful since a 1998 deal brought an end to 30 years of sectarian conflict that pitted pro-Irish paramilitaries against the British. However, protestant and Catholic communities remain deeply divided.

''The death of Michael McIlveen is a shocking reminder of the evils of sectarianism,'' Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said.

''Those responsible for this brutal crime must face the full rigours of the law. They stand condemned in the eyes of all decent people committed to reconciliation and promoting a peaceful society throughout Northern Ireland.'' The series of Protestant summer marches celebrate the 17th century defeat of a Catholic army.

REUTERS OM PM1942

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