Irish Republican News · January 24, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: More sectarian attacks as tensions resurface
More sectarian attacks as tensions resurface

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A County Tyrone man who was stabbed while walking past a loyalist part of south Belfast believes he may have been deliberately targeted for wearing a Gaelic sports top.

Conor Lynch collapsed on the pavement as the blade narrowly missed his stomach and pierced the top of his right thigh. His attacker fled towards the loyalist Annadale Flats.

Mr Lynch, who has lived in the Ormeau Road area for several years, plans to move out.

He fears he was targeted because he occasionally wears GAA clothing while out with friends in the mixed area.

The 26-year-old call centre worker from Castlederg was wearing a GAA jersey as he took a riverside stroll at about 6.25pm on Sunday. He was walking towards King’s Bridge when a man approached him “aggressively” from the opposite direction.

“At first I thought he punched me but I looked down and there was blood coming out of my leg. It was pouring blood pretty quickly,” Mr Lynch said.

“I was scared and panicking. My leg just kind of gave way and buckled underneath me. I think he was going for the stomach. I dived sideways and he caught my leg.”

He said he could think of no reason for the attack other than his sportswear. Mr Lynch said in one incident last year he was warned when he wore a Donegal top on the day of the All-Ireland final.

“One guy said: ‘You would be in the wrong place to be wearing that kind of top’,” he said.

PAINT BOMBS

Meanwhile, loyalist paramilitaries have been blamed for sectarian attacks on two Catholic homes in north Belfast. A group of men launched paint bombs at the houses late on Friday.

A window was broken in one but the paint bottle did not smash. In the other attack, several paint bombs caused damage to a pillar, wall and a family car. The living room window that was smashed belonged to a 67-year-old grandmother, while a couple in their fifties live in the other house.

The homes are close to the Twaddell Avenue and Ardoyne interface which has been at the centre of a bitter parades dispute. Both front the nationalist part of the Crumlin Road opposite Ardoyne shops and have been attacked in the past, the residents said.

The grandmother, who lives alone and is employed in cross-community work, said she was sitting in her living room when she heard “an unmerciful bang”.

“It was about 11 at night when I heard this bashing on the window and I presumed it was a petrol bomb going off. It hit the railings on the side of the house and I heard a bang like an explosion and then repeated banging on the window,” she said.

“My window is made of toughened glass but they kept banging on it with some sort of bottle and then the whole front window came in.”

The attacks were widely condemned.

Dee Fennell, of Greater Ardoyne Residents Coalition, said it was not the first time the houses have been attacked and accused police of prioritising the defence of the Twaddell camp over residents.

Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McCabe said: “The continuing illegal protest at Twaddell is doing nothing to resolve the issues around parading or reducing sectarian tensions in the area.”

FLAGS ERECTED

Tensions over parades and flags appear to have escalated across the Six Counties. It is understood ten councils across the Six Counties now fly the British Union Jack all year round from at least one building.

On Monday night, Craigavon Borough Council voted to fly the Union flag 365 days of the year. This decision is only binding until March 31 when the new Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon ‘super council’ takes over the reins.

However, unionists hold a sizeable majority on the new council, making the decision likely to remain permanent.

The Orange Order welcomed it as a “hugely symbolic gesture”. DUP councillor Carla Lockhart said it was the “right decision” despite an earlier proposal to fly the flag from seven locations in the borough all year round.

But Sinn Fein blasted it as “illogical and most likely illegal”.

“This is the depressing final legacy of Craigavon council that has unfortunately been stained by unionist dogma and sectarianism,” she said, adding that her party would be seeking legal advice on the matter.

© 2015 Irish Republican News