Irish Republican News · July 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Sectarian attacks mark Twelfth
Sectarian attacks mark Twelfth

Arsonists attempted to murder a Catholic family in north Belfast at the weekend.

Early on Sunday, a unionist mob smashed windows at a house on the front of the Crumlin Road opposite the Ardoyne shops before trying to set the premises alight.

A couple sleeping upstairs discovered a blaze in the living room and used a fire extinguisher and wet tea towels to try to dampen the flames.

One person was later treated for the effects of breathing smoke.

Michael Ferguson of Sinn Féin said the attack was “attempted murder”.

“This kind of attack is synonymous of the 12th celebrations for Catholics and nationalists in north Belfast,” he said.

“The family who lives here is very lucky to be alive.”

The family said it was not the first time the house had been attacked, but this incident had caused the most damage.

WOMAN FORCED OUT

Meanwhile, a woman has been forced to leave the house where she was born and has lived for more than 50 years after a series of sectarian attacks on her home.

Kathleen McCaughey said she was devastated after living in the mainly Protestant village of Ahoghill, County Antrim, all her life.

But she said the sectarian picket and threats to burn down the building where she lived, was the final straw.

“I had a lot of good neighbours in Ahoghill and it is only about six families that have been involved in the intimidation,” she said.

“None of the unionist politicians in the area did anything to stop these familes intimidating me.”

Mrs McCaughey said a group of around 12 adults and 10 children gathered outside her home on Thursday night and the youngsters entered her garden playing three mini-lambeg drums.

She said they shouted abuse and threw water balloons over the course of hours of intimidation.

After months of increasing harassment, Mrs McCaughey said she could take no more and moved her belongings out on Friday. She said the trauma meant she had to see a doctor.

Paint bombs and fireworks have also been used to force Mrs McCaughey out of the area.

Philip McGuigan, Sinn Féin MLA for North Antrim, said: “The sectarian abuse against Mrs McCaughey has been allowed to continue for so long without any unionist intervention. People that have responsibility in Ahoghill need to take a long look at the message they are sending out to Catholics in the area,” he said.

CHURCH DEFACED

Unionists have scrawled anti-Catholic graffiti on the front door of Harryville Catholic Church in Ballymena.

The words “f*** the Pope” were written on the front door of the church, the subject of a campaign of sectarian violence and intimidation in recent years. Metal fencing was also painted red white and blue.

A major ‘eleventh night’ bonfire was held last night just yards away from the chapel at the King George V Park.

The Church of Our Lady was the subject of a 20-month long loyalist picket running from 1996 to 1998. Recently there has been speculation that some unionists want to re-launch the protest.

The church is forced to cancel its Saturday night Mass during July and August at the height of the Protestant marching season.

Local Sinn Féin representative Philip McGuigan said loyalists were demonstrating that “Catholics are unwelcome to attend their own church” in that part of Ballymena. 

“This kind of sectarianism and intimidation is designed to ensure the Catholics are expected to live as second class citizens in their own town.

“This sectarianism has been allowed to continue against the backdrop of silence from the DUP controlled Ballymena Council.”

BONFIRE VIOLENCE

Two PSNI men were injured and one had his gun and radio stolen when they were attacked by a crowd in east Belfast last night.

The attack happened after a man who was being beaten at the scene of a loyalist ‘Eleventh Night’ bonfire, on the eve of the July 12 marches.

Elsewhere, 30 homes were evacuated after a bonfire ruptured a gas pipeline in east Belfast.

© 2005 Irish Republican News