Irish Republican News · November 22, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: New ‘peace line’ built as loyalist attacks continue
New ‘peace line’ built as loyalist attacks continue

A new ‘peace line’ is under construction in north Belfast to protect the nationalist Throne estate from sectarian attacks by loyalists living in White City, on the other side of the school.

The 25ft-high mesh barrier at Hazelwood Integrated Primary School, which is attended by Protestant and Catholic children, is the latest wall to be erected at sectarian interfaces in the Six Counties.

Despite the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the restoration of the North’s political institutions this year, sectarian attacks have continued and the so-called ‘peace-lines’, normally higher than the buildings they protect, have remained in place.

The British government ordered the newest barricade to be built to prevent missiles like bricks being hurled from the school grounds by youths in the White City. Government officials said they were acting on advice from the PSNI police.

Head teacher Jill Houston said: “Children coming here from different parts of Belfast will see this peaceline when their parents wanted them to see a brighter future and a sense of hope.”

“We are oversubscribed for pupils, we are on a peaceline and ordinary parents are voting with their feet.

“I feel absolutely let down but I also have a duty of care to my neighbours and I would be distraught if anyone was burned out of their home.”

ANTRIM ARSON

One family has been left homeless and three homes badly damaged after a loyalist arson attack in the town of Antrim on Friday.

A family of four escaped from one of houses while a house left gutted by the blaze belonged to a young married couple.

The property was destroyed after a garden shed was set alight at the back of the vacant building and spread to two oil tanks which exploded.

They had been in the Rathkyle, Antrim, property for five weeks, recently married with a baby.

A family of four also had to flee their house after the alarm was raised at around 11pm last night.

Antrim mayor Adrian Watson said: “These people were completely innocent of anything, they have worked hard getting the house together, decorating it and then this has happened.

“The sitting room, the bedrooms, they are destroyed and all that effort was for nothing.”

He said the house was owned by the Housing Executive and added that wedding day photographs were still visible amid the devastation.

“Those responsible for this, which was malicious, should be ashamed of themselves.

“It is disgusting after watching the images in Omagh for anyone to think there is some reason to attack a home and cause a fire.”

A family of seven died in Omagh last week after an arson attack which the PSNI have informally characterised as a murder-suicide by the family’s father.

STONEYFORD

Loyalists have also been linked to a sectarian attack on a house in Stoneyford, County Antrim in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A hoax device was thrown through the window of a Catholic family’s home in the village, shortly after 1.30am.

Sinn Fein assembly member Paul Butler said he had met the PSNI to discuss what he claimed was an “ongoing campaign of intimidation against Catholics in the village”.

He said he had “serious concerns” about the attack on a Catholic family in the area, less than 24 hours after meeting the PSNI to hand over a dossier of attacks against nationalists in the village.

And he pointed out that no arrests had been made following a spate of attacks over the past year.

“Nobody has ever been arrested, interviewed or charged with any of these sectarian crimes,” he said.

© 2007 Irish Republican News