Echoes of 1969 as loyalist mob drives families out of homes...


SDLP former MLA Alban Maginness has appealed for Protestant community leaders in North Belfast to use their influence and stop sectarian attacks that have led to three families fleeing their homes near Ardoyne.

A gang of up to 30 loyalist youths attacked homes on Deerpark Road on Friday. Last week our sister paper the North Belfast News told of the plight of one woman whose cat had been brutally mutilated and found dead at the door of her house. The young mother-of-two last week fled her home after the spate of attacks, blaming loyalists from nearby Glenbryn.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly who said his party was worried that the incidents were an attempt to drive Catholics out of the largely mixed area has also condemned the attack.

On Friday loyalists attacked a further two homes close to Alliance Avenue. The houses are opposite sectarian graffiti daubed in huge letters on the pavement. The writing says, “Kill all Huns. The only good Hun is a dead 1. Ardoyne IRA”.

Loyalists painted slogans on the houses whilst the bottles and golf balls were thrown at the homes.

One man whose home was one of those attacked was too frightened to be identified but said the motive was purely sectarian.

“I wouldn’t wish anyone any harm and I wouldn’t wish this brought upon anyone from any part of the community. It is just complete intimidation and if it was to happen to someone from what they would say the other side of the fence, I would equally sympathise.”

Alban Maginness said it was a worrying development for people living in the area and called for restraint.

“These incidents have been occurring over the past six months or more and they were clearly low grade but still disturbing attacks and cause damage to houses. But certainly the ferocity of these incidents has increased during the summer. It is a very worrying and disturbing development and particularly distressing for the people that were living there. It serves no purpose and I hope those with influence of paramilitaries exercise restraint in relation to this,” he said.

Gerry Kelly said he had no doubt the attacks were the work of loyalists.

“We know it is loyalists, and that is worrying because this is an area over the last 30 years that did not really feature in terms of the type of sectarian attacks that are now happening. We are worried that this is an attempt to move more Catholics out.”

Journalist: Andrea McKernon

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