A Church of Ireland Minister at the funeral of the woman killed in Friday night's loyalist attack in Portadown has appealed to both sides in the Drumcree parades dispute to come to an honourable agreement. The Reverend David Chillingworth, the Rector of Seagoe Parish church, told mourners at the funeral of Elizabeth O'Neill: "I believe that disputes are settled when it is time for them to be settled. I say that with all the moral,spiritual and pastoral strength that I can command and I believe that the time for hourable agreement is now. "Our community here in Portadown needs to have the burden of the disapute lifted from it."
Mrs O'Neill, a protestant who married a Catholic, was killed when a device exploded after being thrown through the living-room window of her home in the largely loyalist Corcrain area of Portadown. Several hundred mourners, including the North's First Minister David Trimble, attended the funeral and hundreds more of Mrs O'Neill's neighbours from the Corcrain Housing estate lined the road to pay their respects. A number of people are still being detained by the RUC in connection with the attack and it is believed that dissident loyalist groups were responsible. Yesterday, Mrs O'Neill's son Martin branded her killers cowards and said that her death was not worth the seven-minute Orange parade down the nationalist Garvaghy Road. A third day of proximity talks which was due to take place over the Drumcree crisis has been postponed following Orange Order objections to proposals put forward by talks chairman Frank Blair. The Garvahy Road residents association have accused the Orange Order of intransigence in refusing to consider the proposals.
Children at a Co Antrim primary school were forced to stay away from class today because of a bomb alert. Pupils at St Mary's in Ballymena were moved to the nearby Slemish integrated college as British Army experts examined a suspected pipe bomb. Staff had discovered the device lying outside the canteen. An RUC chief inspector said that the bomb could only be viewed as an attack on the whole Catholic community in Ballymena. DUP leader Ian Paisley condemned the attempted bombing as mindless stupidity which served no other purpose than blood lust. He said that such activists were not wanted in Ballymena.