Finaghy sectarianism on the increase
``The UDA flags on the lamp posts at the Finaghy Crossroads
in South Belfast are a constant reminder to local Catholics that
the loyalist threat to their lives and well being are still very
real,'' says Stephen Long.
Long, the Sinn Féin
representative for the area, told An Phoblacht that since the
start of this year loyalists in the South Belfast area,
particularly around Finaghy Cross, have increased.
Only as recently as last week, a 14-year-old, wearing an
Antrim GAA football top, was set upon by a loyalist.
``This was a grown man and he attacked this lad for no reason
other than he was a Catholic'', said Long.
Long explained that since the beginning of the year and the
upsurge in attacks, including petrol bomb attacks in Finaghy Road
South, the RUC have claimed to be doing everything they can, but
have only arrested one man in that time.
Long has also been in contact with NIO security minister Adam
Ingram, who is a former Junior Orangeman, asking for a meeting.
``It is clear the RUC or NIO do not want to confront the
loyalists. Last Thursday, 22 June, two days after the UDA issued
its death threat against nationalists, six loyalists using a
flatbed truck drove around the whole area putting UDA flags on
the lamps. Despite the RUC claims of increased patrolling, these
men were not stopped or even challenged by the RUC and they were
in the area for two or three hours,'' says Long.
He is now calling on UDP deputy mayor of Belfast Frank
McCoubrey and party colleague Harry Smith from South Belfast to
use their influence with the UDA to call a halt to this sectarian
campaign. Long has also been in touch with Irish government
officials, ``to put them in the picture'.
Meanwhile, the RUC have admitted that they are investigating
attacks on children as young as 12 in the Finaghy and Dunmurray
Pupils from the Catholic Rathmore Grammar School have been
particularly targeted because of their uniforms.
According to information we have received, loyalist gangs are
roaming the area and are using mobile phones to call up support
as they attack the vulnerable pupils.
Some children have been admitted to hospital with serious
These have been going on for up to nine months but have
increased lately. On one occasion, the school authorities refused
to allow pupils out of the school and summoned their parents to
Meehan urges nationalist vigilance
Sinn Féin representative in South Antrim, Martin
Meehan, is warning nationalists in the area to be vigilant after
loyalist gangs began a campaign of graffiti writing in Catholic
The loyalists were roaming around Antrim town putting up flags
and painting slogans, ``which is a worry to nationalists in
Antrim town, who have been on the end of a campaign of
intimidation from these gangs'', said Meehan.
Meehan went on to say that some ``frightened residents called
the RUC at about 7.30pm yet it wasn't until about two hours later
that the RUC appeared''.