Forklift attack on public house

The forklift was smashed into the front of the building

Customers in a Belfast public house have escaped injury after a building site forklift truck was driven into a wall of the building.

The attack occurred on the Crumlin Road, in the north of the city, shortly before 0100 BST on Friday.

People in the Thirty-two Degrees North bar managed to get out uninjured.

Sinn Fein is blaming loyalists for the attack, which took place in a nationalist area.

Windows were smashed and some structural damage was caused to the building when the telescopic forklift hit the pub.

"This was a well organised plan to cause as much death and damage as they possibly could."
Margaret McClenaghan
Sinn Fein

A fire started but was quickly put out.

A motive for the attack is not clear, the police said.

Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan, who visited the scene, said it was a sectarian attack.

"It was attempted murder on the staff and the customers of that pub," she said.

"It was carried out by the UDA. There have been many attacks over the last few weeks in different areas across the north of the city.

"This was the most serious and it is by the grace of God that nobody was killed there last night."

'Loyalist hooligans'

Ms McClenaghan said the perpetrators had managed to pull steel sheets off the front of the forklift to get access to the cab.

"The bucket part of the digger was packed with slates and burning wood. There was also a very strong smell of petrol.

"When that impacted on the building, the steel shutter of the bar was wrecked.

"There were at least 50 to 60 adults at Twaddell Avenue who began throwing missiles towards the bar," she said.

SDLP councillor Martin Morgan condemned the attack and urged people not to retaliate.

"I have no doubt that the loyalist hooligans responsible for this attack set out to heighten tensions in the area between the two communities," he said.

"I am calling for people in my community to remain calm in the face of this aggression and to remain vigilant."

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