‘Injured bar men had bags placed over their heads’ – Newry PSNI reveal shocking details of McCoys arson attack
The Chief Inspector and Area Commander of Newry PSNI has revealed to Newry Times the shocking details of the incident which led to two men working in McCoy’s Bar having bags placed over their heads before the popular local bar was set alight.
At the press facility outside McCoy’s Bar, Area Commander, Chief Inspector Davy Beck said,
“We are treating a fire at McCoy’s Bar on Kilmorey Street as arson with intent to endanger life. Two men were left in a rear yard while the bar was set on fire. Our thoughts are with those men as they come to terms with their ordeal. Our focus is now on catching those responsible.”
Speaking about what the police believe may have contributed to the horrific attack, Beck continued,
“Around 11pm last night a fight broke out in McCoy’s Bar between four males. The males were asked to leave after causing damage to the property. They spoke with Southern accents. Two staff members began to clean up the bar when the side door was banged around 11.30pm.”
“Four hooded males entered and covered the heads of the two male staff and put them under stairs in the rear yard. The bar was then set alight. These males also spoke with Southern accents and we are looking at a link between the two incidents.”
The quick reactions of a passer-by who alerted the emergency services was praised by the PSNI commander.
He continued, “A passer-by alerted the Fire Service who attended and rescued the two men. I would like to thank the passer by for his swift reporting. We are now working to piece together every available piece of information and would ask for the support and help of the public.”
“If you were in McCoy’s Bar last night and witnessed the fight please contact us. If you noticed any vehicles or any type of activity around the bar between 11pm and 12 midnight please phone us. It is important that we gather every detail possible to ensure we find those responsible and bring them before the courts.”
He added, “Detectives can be contacted at Ardmore Police Station on 0845 600 8000.”
Local political representatives have united in their anger and condemnation after details emerged about the attack. Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said the two men were lucky they were not killed in the violent incident.
Speaking to Newry Times, Murphy said,
“This is a disgusting attack on a well known family business which has been at the heart of the local community for many years and it is fortunate that the two members of staff were rescued by Fire Service and not killed in this incident.
“This attack has shocked the whole community and has affected all members of staff at McCoy’s bar and the many community and sporting organisations who used the premises. The loss of a business and the employment it created is particularly difficult in the current economic climate.”
He added, “Attacks such as these have no place in our society and I would urge any witnesses to come forward and pass information on to the PSNI.”
“I join with the community in condemning the appalling attack on McCoy’s bar. It is my understanding that four males entered the premises, placed black bags over the heads of the two employees and took them to the rear yard before setting the premises alight.”
“Whilst both men were treated in Daisy Hill for shock and smoke inhalation, their family have told my office that they are now at home recovering. It is thought that the men who carried out this senseless act may have been in the establishment earlier that day.”
She added, “I urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as it is essential that those capable of carrying out such a vicious and senseless attack are arrested and prosecuted. I wish to commend the great work of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services Team who spent the night fighting the blaze, preventing it from spreading to neighbouring premises and homes.”
“Unfortunately McCoys could not be saved, and the community will mourn the loss of this social establishment. But more importantly two lives have been saved, and a family will thankfully not be mourning the loss of a loved one.”
“This obviously a concerning incident and one I am sure the PSNI will want to investigate intensively given the destruction caused and the nature of the attack on the staff. I would urge anyone with any information on the matter to contact the PSNI immediately to assist them with their inquiries.”
He added, “Businesses are already experiencing tough trading conditions therefore this will be a huge set back for management and staff. Hopefully those responsible for this incident will be apprehended and justice served given the seriousness of this incident.”
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