Irish Republican News · November 13, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Loyalist violence linked to ‘territory’ claims
Loyalist violence linked to ‘territory’ claims

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Loyalists have targeted the home of a Catholic family in a campaign of sectarian terror on a north Belfast street.

The house, which faces the Crumlin Road in Ardoyne, was targeted by masked men armed with hammers and crowbars in the eary hours of Wednesday morning.

A couple and their three children were in the house when the gang, believed to be linked to the UVF, struck. It is the third time in three months houses in the area have been targeted.

It is believed the attacks may be linked to plans to remove a ‘peace wall’ which separates the houses from the Crumlin Road. Loyalist paramilitaries in the nearby Woodvale area are understood to be opposed to the move. To date each of the attacks has coincided with developments to remove the wall.

The homeowner, who does not want to be named, said he was sitting in his living room when his windows were smashed by the gang. He said his young family has been left shaken by the experience.

“My son has autism and he will not come back to the house,” he said. “My wife would not sleep here last night.”

The father-of-three said he will not be forced from the area. A security gate allowing access to the Crumlin Road was locked in the early hours of Wednesday for the first time in two decades.

“It’s one thing having paint bombs, it’s another thing looking out your window and seeing grown men with balaclavas and hammers,” he said.

“My issue is not with the wall. My major issue is my kids and there has to be security for the kids. They have to keep the wall until they come up with something.”

Ardoyne residents are due to meet later this week to discuss the situation.

‘SEEN WEARING A CELTIC TOP’

Earlier this month a new Loyalist Community Council was launched with the backing of the paramilitary UDA and UVF. They said they were “re-committing” to the Good Friday Agreement and “eschew all violence and criminality”. But since then, the number of sectarian attacks carried out by the groups has increased.

Last week, the UVF was linked to a sectarian attack in a unionist area of county Down. A Catholic man was forced to flee his home after three windows were smashed at the front of his home in the small town of Holywood, near the site of MI5’s headquarters in Ireland.

Conor Milligan says he believes he was targeted simply because he was identified as a nationalist.

“They attacked the house trying to get to me. They smashed the glass trying to force their way in,” the father-of-two said.

“I know it’s the UVF. They say they’re doing away with criminality - but now I’m homeless because of them. It started out because they saw me wearing a Celtic top and there was a picture of Bobby Sands on my Facebook.”

Mr Milligan, originally from west Belfast, said he has been living in social housing in Holywood for just over a year.

He was shopping when neighbours spotted four men emerged from a black van and targeted his home with bars and baseball bats.

“They were hell bent on getting into the house to get me,” he said.

“If I had been home - I only just missed them by 15 minutes - I definitely could not have defended myself, and I know for a fact that the UVF was behind the attack.”

He added: “They put me out of that area because of my religion and nothing else.”

© 2015 Irish Republican News