Irish Republican News · August 11, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Councillor targeted in murder bid
Councillor targeted in murder bid

A Sinn Féin councillor has escaped injury in a petrol bomb attack on his County Down home.

Dessie Ward said unionist paramilitaries were responsible for attempting to kill him and his family after their home in Banbridge, County Down was petrol-bombed.

Mr Ward was with his mother and young brother when the incident happened on Monday shortly before midnight.

Mr Ward, who recently became the first Sinn Féin member to be elected to Banbridge Council, said he was getting ready to go to bed when he saw a flash of light and looked out to see a man preparing to throw a lit petrol bomb.

“I saw a flash of light and when I looked out the window I saw a man with a balaclava on about to throw a device at the house,” he said.

“He directed it at the house which must have activated the security light. It ended up hitting the front door frame.

“He then made off down an alleyway into the Brookfield estate.

“I ran down to alert my mother and 11-year-old broth-er who were in the house at the time. I was able to put the fire out - nobody was hurt, thank God, but it was a frightening experience.”

Mr Ward said the incident would not force him to leave the area.

“I will be stepping up my personal security, but I have no intention in leaving my home,” he said.

“I think the people behind it are still trying go come to terms with the fact that Banbridge district council has a sitting Sinn Féin councillor.”

CLOUGHMILLS

Meanwhile, two pipe-bomb attacks on nationalist homes are being treated as attempted murder.

In the first sectarian pipe-bomb attack, a device was planted beside a workman’s van in the Rosemount area of Cloughmills, County Antrim

Approximately 45 minutes later, another pipe bomb -- similar in appearance to the first -- was thrown at the window of a house.

Although the occupants of the house were at home at the time, nobody was hurt. The explosion only managed to shatter the glass in the living-room window.

A third device was left on a windowsill.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Daithi McKay said unionist paramilitaries were allowed to wreak havoc on nationalist communities and appeared to be “above the law”. He told Daily Ireland: “What is certain is the police clearly have not acted when the onus has been on them to do something.

Mr McKay said the three nationalists targeted in the latest spate of attacks had been victims of unionist paramilitaries before.

AHOGHILL

A number of Catholics in a County Antrim village have been forced to flee their homes after the PSNI confirmed they are under threat from unionist paramilitaries.

In an unprecedented move, the PSNI has handed out fire blankets and smoke detectors to five Catholic residents in Ahoghill, near Ballymena, because of what they the described as a “general threat” to households “occupied by Catholics”.

It is understood PSNI officers also advised homeowners what window they should jump from if they are targeted in a unionist murder bid.

Several of those issued with the PSNI threat notice are believed to have left their homes yesterday.

The drastic PSNI action comes just a week after Oonagh Donaghy and her son Mark were forced to flee their burning home in the middle of the night after it was torched in a loyalist arson attack. Last month Mrs Donaghy’s aunt Kathleen McCaughey abandoned her Ahoghill home of 50 years after being targeted by loyalists on several occasions in recent years.

Since July, there have been six paint attacks on Catholic churches in the wider Ballymena area, while earlier this week Catholic families were targeted in two pipe bomb attacks at Cloughmills, just a few miles from the mainly unionist town.

Pubs in nearby Rasharkin and Martinstown have also been targeted by loyalists in recent weeks.

North Antrim Sinn Féin councillor Daithi McKay said the recent threats in Ahoghill came from the UDA.

“There are only a handful of Catholics left in this estate and if they are targeted to the same degree as others they will also be burned out and that is the reality. It also worth noting that the MP for the area, Ian Paisley, is nowhere to be seen. He has a lot of influence in this area and he should now use it to bring this campaign to an end.”

LISBURN

And anti-Catholic graffiti has been daubed across another Catholic church which has repeatedly been targeted by vandals.

The curate of St Patrick’s Church in Lisburn discovered the slogans splashed across the building as he went to open the church yesterday morning.

Its windows have been smashed, bottles have been thrown at it and now vandals have scrawled ‘taigs out’ and ‘UDA’ in red paint across the side wall of the building.

© 2005 Irish Republican News