Tates Avenue fears

Catholics living in the Tates Avenue area say they fear that they could be the next Whitehall Square after a series of sectarian attacks over the Twelfth weekend.

In the past few years the predominantly loyalist area has seen heavy investment by property developers and this has led to a change in the religious make-up of the area with Catholic students, young professionals and ethnic minorities moving into Tates Avenue and the adjoining streets. However, after a number of recent attacks on cars and property residents of the area say they fear they could be the next Whitehall Square.

In May of this year loyalists protested outside the Whitehall Square apartment block in Sandy Row. Racist and anti-Catholic graffiti was also daubed on the walls of the flats and residents threatened by a loyalist mob. Over the Twelfth weekend residents of apartments in the Tates Avenue area
say they were subjected to sectarian abuse and gangs of loyalists attacked cars and property. One resident, whose car was vandalised by loyalists, said there was a genuine fear.

“The people who live in and around the top of Tates Avenue have no interest in religion or politics.

“Most are studying or working hard and just want somewhere they can come home to at night and live in peace.

“Tates Avenue is close to the Lisburn Road and the city centre and is popular with students and young professionals.

“But we are now worried that the hardline loyalists who lived here previously may want to turn this area into another Whitehall Square.

“Nobody is willing to speak out, but there is genuine fear.”

Journalist:: Allison Morris

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