A 150-strong clash between rival factions which left a man hospitalised in a ‘critical
condition’ may have been sparked by sectarianism,
police have revealed.
The altercation, in the vicinity of a football supporters’ club, took place in Sackville Street in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Police made five arrests at the scene for offences including grievous bodily harm with intent.
A 20-year-old who sustained head injuries is recovering at the Royal Victoria Hospital and remains in what has been described as a ‘critical condition’.
Sources say he now is now breathing unaided but had been on a life support machine since the weekend attack. Hopes are high that he will make a full recovery.
Area Commander Chief Inspector Darrin Jones, who confirmed officers were investigating a possible sectarian motive, described the weekend scenes as “disgraceful” and said the man was “frankly, lucky to be alive”.
The Chief Inspector continued, “Large numbers of people brawling in the street at any time or for any reason is not what Lisburn needs. We should learn lessons from other towns and cities where both sectarian and alcohol fuelled violence have resulted in the senseless deaths of some young people and have left others with serious, life altering injuries. We do not want to see such scenarios played out here in Lisburn.”
He added that the police will continue to conduct “high visibility, targeted patrols at the weekends around city centre night spots to discourage similar incidents and to intervene and make arrests where any incidents occur”.
“We will also be working closely with our local bars and entertainment venues and we would ask for the public’s support,” he continued.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at Lisburn CID on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Assembly member Jonathan Craig, “I would like to sympathise with the family. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this very trying time. I just hope that the young man will make a fully recovery. There is no excuse for an attack like that to an individual and I would urge anyone who can help the police to do so, so there will be justice for this young man .
“Anyone who was at the party of may have been in the area and can help the police - so you can ring them anonymously.”
He urged anyone who can help the police with their inquiries to contact them