Northern Ireland news

Fionntan McGarvey: Man questioned over fatal assault on Belfast teenager is released

Fionntán McGarvey in action for St Brigid's GAC, Belfast. A club spokesman paid tribute to the 18-year-old last night following news of his death. Picture by John McIlwaine
David Young, PA

A man arrested in connection with a fatal assault on a teenager in Belfast has been released on bail pending further police inquiries.

Fionntan McGarvey (18) was assaulted outside licensed premises in the Finaghy Road North area of Belfast in the early hours of December 27 last year.

He died in hospital yesterday and police launched a murder investigation.

The 21-year-old man detained for questioning was released last night, having been arrested earlier in the day.

In a statement, the teenager’s family said: “We are devastated to lose our beautiful son Fionntan but take comfort that his wish to donate his organs will provide other families with hope at our time of deep loss.

“The family is grateful for the many messages of sympathy and support we have received. We would ask for privacy at this most difficult time.”

Detective Chief Inspector Raymond Phelan has urged anyone with information which could help police to come forward.

“I know there was a large number of people in the area at the time and I am appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the assault, or has any information, to come forward,” he said.

Tributes were paid last night to the keen young sportsman from clubs with which he was involved.

A talented GAA player, Mr McGarvey turned out on the football pitch for both St Brigid's GAC in south Belfast and Queen's, where he had begun studying last autumn.

The chairman of St Brigid's, Eunan Conway, said the club was deeply saddened at the loss of a much loved and popular team mate and friend to many, "representing St Brigid’s with distinction at U20 and senior level".

"For over 20 years the McGarvey family have been hugely influential in the development of St Brigid's and we express our heartfelt sympathies to Fionntán's parents Lorcan and Aveen, his brothers Caolan and Daire, and his sister, Sorcha," he said.

Queen's GAA also paid tribute and offered its heartfelt condolences and prayers to the young man's friends, team mates, the St Brigid's club, and "most of all his family at this most difficult time".

Mr McGarvey also played soccer for south Belfast's Aquinas FC. A spokesperson said he had been involved from the age of seven.

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