A high-profile civil rights lawyer in Northern Ireland is in critical condition in a Belfast hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Niall Murphy, 43, has frequently represented victims of the Troubles in court and serves on the Board of Directors of Relatives for Justice, a group that advocates for justice for murdered family members during the Troubles.
He is a partner in KRW Law in Belfast.
Speaking to the PA last week on behalf of KRW, Kevin Winters confirmed that Murphy had contracted COVID-19 last week.
“Last week our partner and colleague Niall Murphy was admitted to hospital where he is battling Covid-19.
“His condition remains critical but stable.
“We have invited people to send him and his family messages of support on Monday (3/30/20)."
Winters said that Murphy would want everyone to stay indoors and protect themselves and others during the coronavirus crisis.
“He would want everyone to keep themselves and their families and NHS staff safe by following advice to stay home and avoid the spread of this awful virus.
“In particular as a GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) mentor he would want young people to stay indoors and use social media to keep in touch with friends and family.”
Trevor Birney, a journalist that Murphy represented after he was arrested for whistleblower material in a Troubles documentary, tweeted his support for the lawyer.
“Niall Murphy has Covid-19. He supported my family who know him simply as ‘uncle Murph’ — he’s a true gentleman as well as a tenacious and brilliant lawyer. He needs your support as he faces the toughest battle of his life," Birney tweeted.
Niall Murphy hasCovid-19. He supported my family who know him simply as "uncle Murph" - he's a true gentleman as well as a tenacious and brilliant lawyer. He needs your support as he faces the toughest battle of his life. @Barry_TheDetail @alexgibneyfilm @KRWLaw #messagetoniall pic.twitter.com/IOlZdYONl3— Trevor Birney (@trevorbirney) March 28, 2020
The whistleblower case against Birney and his colleague Barry McCaffrey was ultimately dropped thanks to Murphy's work.
Relatives for Justice also tweeted their support for Murphy.
The group said that Murphy had worked tirelessly to secure justice and closure for the families of Troubles victims. The group said that Murphy was currently in a coma and relying on a ventilator to breathe.
“He is also a valued member of the board of directors of Relatives for Justice. He has fought for and alongside many families seeking truth, justice and acknowledgment.
“He is 43. He is currently fighting for his life against Covid-19 and is in an induced coma and on a ventilator in hospital."
Chairde we would ask you share this post. Niall Murphy is a much loved and valued member of our Board of Directors. His work with families is second to none. The least we can do is support this initiative from his work colleagues https://t.co/EoryHnhfqO pic.twitter.com/kYdny7n2hr— Relatives 4 Justice (@RelsForJustice) March 28, 2020
Murphy also serves as the Chairman of Antrim GAA and the county's official Twitter account also tweeted in support of him as he fights for his life.