Republican News · Thursday 31 August 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Springfield Road residents living in fear

Several people were injured by stones and glass on Tuesday, 29 August, when a loyalist mob of 20 people launched a fresh spate of attacks on residents of the Springfield Road.

The loyalist mob first attempted to kick in the door of a house. Ironically, the property was already vacant because the former residents of the house had already been forced to flee because of sectarian intimidation.

Minutes later, the thugs climbed the `peace line' and hurled stones, bricks, bottles and golf balls at nationalist homes.

This followed a wave of similar attacks the week before. Loyalists launched a series of attacks that lasted from Wednesday afternoon to the early hours of Thursday morning without being challenged. At one point, a devastated grandmother fainted as she watched the loyalist gang force their way over the `peace line' at Workman Avenue.

``I was terrified, but was also very angry that they were terrorising us yet again and when they started abusing me, it was too much,'' she said. ``A person can only take so much and we have had to put up with this intimidation for years.''

The effect of the attacks on the health of residents is becoming a major concern. ``Many residents, particularly older residents and mothers with young children, are living on tranquilisers such as valium,'' says John McGivern, spokesperson for the Springfield Road residents.

The tension has reached new heights with the recent wave of violence on the Shankill Road. ``The reality is that the residents have been under constant attack,'' says McGivern. ``What is happening on the Shankill is only increasing fears that nationalists who live facing the wall will be the first victims if the loyalist violence spills into Catholic areas.

``Someone is going to die if this does not stop. We have had enough murders on this road. We are now urging residents to be ultra vigilant.''

The Springfield Road Residents committee are contuinuing to demand the immediate closure of the gates at Workman Avenue and for the peace line to be heightened, despite British security minister Adam Ingram's ruling that such measures were unnecessary, according to reports received from the RUC.

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