There was an air of “righteous anger” at the funeral of a man who was beaten during an unprovoked sectarian attack, a priest has said.
Paul McCauley, 38, spent nine years in a helpless state after being attacked by a loyalist mob at a barbecue in the Waterside area of Londonderry in July 2006.
The PSNI has said detectives commenced a murder investigation following his death.
Father Michael Canny told mourners at St Columb’s Church in the city on Thursday: “This afternoon as we assemble before God, to say farewell to Paul McCauley and to thank God for Paul’s life – a life that was cruelly cut short – it is only natural that in this poignant tragedy there is an air of denunciation and an outraged sense of injustice.
“There is a pervading, righteous anger here, but let it be the anger of a heart of love, a heart broken by the bitter brutality of men.”
Throughout the course of the police probe spanning years since the attack, detectives have arrested and questioned more than two dozen people.
However, just one man was jailed for his part in the assault on the popular civil servant.
Last year, police apologised for the fact more people had not been brought to justice.
Father Canny added: “For the last nine years, Paul’s family have been a shining example of a Christian family who have displayed all the virtues of Christian living by their love and devotion to Paul.
“Their example should make us all proud of our Christian ethos.
“The cause of Paul’s death is known to all of us, and today I publicly commend his father, Jim, who – despite numbing grief – spoke up for his son in the most remarkably dignified manner.
“Our prayers must be that Jim’s heartfelt plea for justice on Paul’s behalf does not go unanswered.”
Mr McCauley was a father-of-one from Londonderry.
On the night of the attack he was at a barbecue when he and two friends were assaulted.
As well as the head injuries, he also suffered two heart attacks on the way to Altnagelvin Hospital.
He spent years in care.