Dissident republicans brawl with friends of murder victim

Altnagelvin Hospital.

Altnagelvin Hospital.

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Dissident republicans were involved in a violent bar brawl with friends of Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) murder victim, Andrew Allen, The Derry Journal understands.

An eye witness to the brawl, which is thought to have started inside a city centre bar on Sunday February 1, contacted The Derry Journal to recollect what happened.

“It was like something from the wild west. I saw one man have a glass smashed into his face and there both men and women injured in the fight. It was very violent,” recounted the source.

The PSNI confirmed to The Derry Journal that the incident had taken place.

“Shortly before midnight on Sunday February 1, police received reports of a disturbance outside a bar at Magazine Street,” said the spokesperson.

Inspector Sam Shearer, who is leading the enquiry into what went on said he would like to hear from anyone with information.

“We received reports of several fights involving groups of individuals.

“On attending, police were approached by one man who made an allegation of assault. Officers also became aware of a man with a serious head injury at Butcher Gate. He was taken by ambulance to hospital after receiving first aid treatment at the scene.

“Enquiries into the incidents are continuing and we would like to hear from anyone who can help identify those involved in the disturbances.”

Information can be given on the police non-emergency number, 101, or by calling the Crimestoppers Charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

According to The Derry Journal’s source, the fight spilled out on to Magazine Street and continued when several of those injured were taken to Altnagelvin Hospital.

“I have never seen anything quite like what happened that night. It was an absolute disgrace.

“It’s terrifying to think that you cannot go out for a quiet drink on a Sunday evening without being confronted by such violence scenes.

“I know every city has its fair share of fights in bars but this was the most vicious and violent I have ever seen.

“It’s made me think twice about going into the city centre at night.

“There was one man standing outside the bar waiting on a taxi. He had absolutely nothing to do with either of the two groups involved in the fight but he ended up getting hit in the face.

“It is an absolute disgrace that grown men and women behave in such a way.

“The fight continued in Altnagelvin Hospital. It was sickening to say the least,” said the eye witness.

The Derry Journal contacted the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) to ask if at any stage during the violent attacks if patient or staff health and safety was compromised.

“There was no risk to staff or patients within the Emergency Department as the situation was well controlled,” said a WHSCT spokesperson.