Ms Dunlop stated: “I am both sad and angry at the killing of Michael who was so savagely beaten at the weekend. The attack was barbaric and vicious. He didn’t stand a chance. He was outnumbered by a bunch of cowardly thugs and I hope that the police find and arrest all those involved.
“The attack was apparently sectarian. What does that say about the state of Ballymena at the minute? The town seems to be more divided now that ever and what’s the point?
“Some people in the town think it is okay to carry out this sort of attack and it puts many people at risk. It has to stop somewhere. We need to take this seriously. One teenager has died and been denied the opportunity to live his life and fulfill his potential. That’s a very high price to pay for sectarian division in Ballymena. My sympathy goes to his family and friends who have suffered such a great loss.”