Irish Republican News · June 21, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Child survives loyalist fire-bomb
Child survives loyalist fire-bomb

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As David Cameron told the world that British-occupied Ireland was a “transformed place”, a four-year-old Catholic child almost burned alive in a sectarian petrol bomb attack.

A lit device lobbed over a sectarian interface exploded where the little girl was playing with her friend in east Belfast.

The child sustained minor burns in the blast on Bryson Street just before 4pm on Tuesday.

The attack came as the British prime minister told an international press conference that the world had seen a new Ireland “that is bringing down the peace walls which have separated its people for so long”.

A day earlier at the Waterfront Hall - just a mile away from the attack - US president Barack Obama declared that for other divided societies the north is the “blueprint to follow” and “they are watching to see what you do next”.

One of the girls was treated at the scene for burn injuries.

Scorch damage could be clearly seen within a yard of where the children were standing on Bryson Street.

He ran out to drag the two girls inside.

Last night he said: “We’ve been very, very lucky.”

“I heard two glass bottles breaking outside and then I heard something else that I knew wasn’t a bottle and saw a flash and ran outside,” he said.

“The girls were standing by the grate. I just grabbed the two girls and pulled them inside. The wee girl Brooke was crying hysterically. They were both in a bad way.

“They were so upset I couldn’t even see if either of them had been hurt.”

Mr Callaghan, who has lived beside the peace wall for 13 years, said there have been crowds gathering in nearby loyalist Mountpottinger.

“It only really happens in the summer months. It’s just ‘eejits’ and animals that’s doing it.”

He said his granddaughter is now too frightened to play in the back garden and immediately wanted to go back to her own home.

“She’s really shaken up. She’s going to have nightmares. Both the girls are always good. We tell them to stay on this side of the street because of the cars but now they’re too scared to be outside at all.”

Sinn Fein councillor Niall O Donnghaile said one of the girls was treated at the scene for minor burn injuries.

“There’s no doubt that this could have been very, very serious.

“This happened in broad daylight in the middle of a sunny afternoon when kids are coming home from school and out playing in the street.”

The east Belfast enclave of the Short Strand is an easy target for loyalists, and the area has come under repeated attacks in recent months due to the dispute over the flying of the British flag.

© 2013 Irish Republican News