Dallat: Bring local boy home for Christmas
A boy who was shot in both knees exactly a year ago in Coleraine wants to come home and he has made an impassioned plea to SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat to help him.
The 15 year old was shot in both legs by Loyalist paramilitaries and beaten with baseball bats because they believed he was responsible for trying to set fire to the car of a local ‘brigadier’.
The boy, now one year older has been living in accommodation provided by social services in Belfast. He desperately wants to come home and doesn’t want to spend another Christmas in exile, away from his mother and his family. He wants his name cleared. He did nothing wrong.
Mr Dallat said:
“When news of this young boy being mutilated by loyalist paramilitaries became known there was genuine outrage that a child should have to go through this experience. But no one knows the suffering this child has had to endure since then as he has tried to recover from physical and psychological injuries inflicted upon him by these thugs.
“He has been exiled from his family and his friends and especially from his distraught mother at a time when he desperately needs her love and support. No one has the right to exile anyone from the embrace of their family. He is yet another victim of unjustifiable violence committed against children and young people at the hands of heartless paramilitaries.
“I have spoken twice to this young boy at Stormont and I am asking anyone in a position of responsibility and influence to end this dreadful nightmare. It is child abuse of an appalling kind and it is a reminder that children are still at the receiving end of the violence carried out day and daily by organisations that should not exist.
“This child, because he is exactly that- a child, has been in and out of hospital with infections and at one stage was told that he had only a 50/50 chance of keeping his left leg.
“What society can live with this kind of story and feel they have nothing to say? This case, and the many others like it, cries out for justice and humanity. Everyone, including the First and deputy First Ministers, must address the cases of the forgotten people, and especially the children that have suffered so grievously at the hands of paramilitaries from all sides in a rotten war.”