Man ‘homeless’ after loyalist break in

A New Lodge man and his neighbours have been left dazed and fearful after masked men stormed his flat on Monday night.

Seamus, who does not want to be fully identified for fear of reprisals, was at his mother’s house when the break-in occurred.

He returned the following morning to find his Carlisle Parade flat ransacked and devastated.
According to eyewitnesses, the masked men, who shouted out that they were members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, broke into the flat around 11.30pm.

As the other residents in the block cowered in fear, the masked thugs kicked the door in and proceeded to lay waste to the living room with baseball bats. They left soon after in a silver car, which was waiting outside and they were seen driving towards the Antrim Road.

“I’m absolutely shocked. They’ve left a real mess here and smashed up everything and took my mail.

“I can’t believe that these people forced their way into my home.”

Seamus believes the break-in was a case of mistaken identity.

“The worst thing is that there’s no way that I can move back now. I haven’t been back since the break in and I don’t feel safe here anymore.

“I don’t care whether it was mistaken identity or not, it has ruined my life and now I feel homeless.”

Speaking from her North Belfast constituency office, Sinn Féin councillor Carál Ní Chuilín was scathing in her condemnation.

“The situation is bad. As well as Seamus, I’ve had another terrified resident in my office today saying that she wants to move out now,” said the councillor.

“We all know that this is not the first time that residents there have been intimidated in this way.

“For the LVF to be able to come into the New Lodge like this is disgraceful and I would be appealing to anybody with political influence to exert some control over this kind of thing.”

And she called on the Housing Executive to provide adequate safety provision for the residents at Carlisle Parade, which is one of the few blocks in the area not to have close-circuit television cameras installed.

She also demanded that measures be taken to help residents be re-housed swiftly if need be.

Responding to the situation, a Housing Executive spokesperson said that they had done all in their power to help Seamus including offering him temporary accommodation while “circumstances were investigated”.

She added that the property had now been secured and that, “CCTV is not provided in mid-rise accommodation; however as part of our concierge roll out, all seven multi-storey blocks in the New Lodge have been provided with CCTV.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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