BBC man praises community for their help after attack at Lurgan rail crossing

A BBC cameraman is full of praise for the people of Lurgan who helped him after he was brutally attacked on Sunday.

Eugene McVeigh, a veteran cameraman who has worked in war zones across the world, was attacked at the rail crossing in Lake St on Sunday afternoon.

He had been there to record an interview with Sinn Fein Cllr Keith Haughian after an incident on Saturday when a number of staff working on the railway line were approached by an armed and masked man and threatened.

Mr McVeigh said: “I got very well attended by the people of Lurgan, all the first responders, police, ambulance, one woman in a house nearby was very, very good to me.

He explained that while they were working at the crossing one man kept ‘giving them grief’.

After Cllr Haughian left, the man returned to Mr McVeigh wearing a mask and weilding a bat.

The man attacked Mr McVeigh resulting in a head gash requiring three stitches.

Mr McVeigh said he went to Accident and Emergency at Craigavon Hospital and went home.

He was full of praise for one local woman who brough Eugene into her home and helped clean up his wound.

“At that stage I was bleeding profusely and she took me in and gave me a cloth.

“The people of Lurgan who were there, to be quite honest, were great; the first responders, the police and Keith. Keith was apologetic but I know it was down to one individual who doesn’t represent the town. I was grateful for the help and support I got.”

Cllr Haughian condemned the attack and commended the BBC crew who insisted on completing their report.

“I also want to fully condemn the reckless actions of the attacker who violently struck the camera man.

“I welcome the swift response of the PSNI.

“In stark contrast to the idiotic actions of the attacker a lady nearby took the crew into her home – this demonstrates the true face of North Lurgan community.

“Journalists should be able to do their job free from fear of attack or intimidation.”

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said: “Everyone will be aware that the railway line is closed for upgrade with £11.9m investment yet we have despicable individuals who approached the workers on the track and threatened them.

“These people are not representative. The people of the area will not allow this small nucleus of people to drag Lurgan back to the dark days.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police in Lurgan are investigating a report that a number of workers were threatened on Saturday.

Chief Inspector Barney O’Connor said: “We understand that at around 11.10am on Saturday morning a number of individuals carrying out work on the railway line at Lake Street were approached by a male who was allegedly armed with a firearm. This male threatened the workers before making off.

“We are currently working with Translink and I would appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened this morning or who has any information that could assist police to please call 101, quoting reference 480 02/03/19.”