Plastic bullet leaves boy in coma
By Eoin O'Broin
Over 2500 plastic bullets have been fired at nationalists since
the Orange march through Garvaghy Road last Sunday. In Belfast
alone over 30 young people have been hospitalised and scores more
wounded. One 14 year old boy from West Belfast is fighting for
his life in the Royal Victoria Hospital after being hit in the
head with a plastic bullet.
Young Gary Lawlor was hit in Lenadoon on Sunday evening after the
RUC opened fire on groups of young people returning home from a
disco on the Falls Road. Lawlor, who was staying with his aunt in
the area, was shot in the back of the head when the RUC opened
fire without warning. The 14 year old immediately lost
consciousness and was taken to a nearby house before being taken
to hospital. As we go to print Gary has yet to regain
consciousness. His parents have not left his bedside since he was
taken to the RVH for treatment. In a statement read to the public
by his cousin Janet Donnelly on behalf of Gary's distressed
parents they called for the immediate banning of plastic bullets.
Maíre Walsh was hit on the side of the mouth with a plastic
bullet at the time Gary Lawlor was shot. She had been to a
teenage disco and along with two friends left their friend home.
It was as they turned to return along the Stewartstown Road that
the RUC fired on the teenagers indiscriminately.
13 year old Maíre told An Phoblacht that there was no rioting at
the waste ground where she was, that the RUC pulled up in jeeps,
disembarked and fired. ``I heard a click and turned round to see
what it was and it was then I was hit. The doctor said that if I
hadn't turned round I might be dead now''.
The young girl and her friends managed to run and take cover
behind a memorial to 13 year old Julie Livingstone, herself a
victim of a plastic bullet fired by the RUC in 1981.
``They kept on firing at us. I heard them laughing at us,'' she
It was during this incident that Gary Lawlor was shot and both
teenagers were carried to a house on Doon Road from where they
were taken to hospital.
Later on that night the RUC attacked the house, firing plastic
bullets into it, shooting the woman of the house on the leg.
The RUC also carried out a number of savage beatings on
nationalists in both North and West Belfast. In Oldpark, Martin
Murphy was knocked down by an RUC jeep while walking to a local
pub. The RUC men proceeded to kick and hit him about the body as
he lay on the ground. In hospital afterwards he received 13
stitches to the head and was treated for severe bruising.
Meanwhile 25 year old Aisling Jennings was shot in the leg when a
live round was fired by the crown forces from New Barnsley RUC
barracks in the early hours of Monday morning. Jennings was
brought to the RVH where she was treated for a fractured bone.
Jennings, a mother of a seven month old child, told An Phoblacht,
``I left a friend's house early on Monday morning, thinking
everything had quietened down, and was shot from Henry Taggart
barracks. The doctors aren't sure if I will fully recover and
they might have to put a steel pin in my leg''.
At a Belfast press conference on Tuesday 8 July, called to
highlight the brutality, Sinn Féin councillors Chrissie McAuley
and Michael Browne attacked the RUC for their ``gross misconduct''
and demanded that plastic bullets be immediately banned.
``In opposition the British Labour party had a clear opposition to
the use of plastic bullets. Now that they are in government I
call on them to honour their policy position,'' said McAuley.
Michael Browne accused the RUC of contravening every guideline on
the use of plastic. As the accounts and injuries of those injured
shows, the RUC are going out of their way to cause serious injury
and even attempting to murder people''.
Speaking at the press conference Rosaleen Walsh, mother of 13
year old Maíre asked ``how could I ever teach my children to
respect the RUC when the RUC don't respect the nationalist