Republican News · Thursday 25 September 2002

[An Phoblacht]

North Belfast woman on UDA hit list

Ardoyne republican Eddie Copeland has criticised the RUC/PSNI for not informing his pregnant partner that she was on a loyalist hit list, despite the information appearing in newspapers on Sunday 8 September.

Copeland wants to know why the RUC/PSNI didn't inform his partner until Wednesday 11 September and how the Sunday papers got to know about the threat before she did.

It is understood that loyalists have been following Copeland's partner for weeks, gathering details about her place of work, her home and her movements.

"When the RUC/PSNI came to the house they didn't tell us where the threat originated, or what the source and nature of the threat was," he told An Phoblacht. "They just told my partner that she was under threat and then left.

"My partner is three months pregnant, she is very worried and has been left traumatised by this whole incident, we know this is the work of the UDA in North Belfast."

Copeland himself has been the target of loyalist death squads. In December 1996 he was seriously injured in a loyalist car bomb attack at his home. In October 1993, he was shot and injured by a British soldier as he stood with other mourners outside the home of deceased IRA Volunteer Thomas Begley.

Sinn Féin Councillor Margaret McClenaghan said the threat raises serious questions for the Loyalist Commission's claim that loyalists are operating a no first strike policy.

Couple escape injury

A young couple narrowly escaped serious injury after loyalists lobbed a pipe bomb into the back of their Alliance Avenue home on Friday night, 17 September. The bomb, which was thrown over the 'peace wall' from the Glenbryn estate, exploded in the back yard of the house.

Sinn Féin councillor Gerard Brophy blamed the UDA for the attack, saying the bomb was intended to kill. He added that homes in Alliance Avenue are under constant attack from loyalists, with bricks and ball bearings directed at homes and people. "The atmosphere is very tense for the people of this area. No one knows what the UDA are going to do next," said Brophy.

Springfield Road homes attacked

Four Catholic homes on the Springfield Road in West Belfast had their windows broken by loyalist youths on Saturday 14 September at around 4pm.

A five-year-old child had a lucky escape. She was playing in her bedroom when the windows came in around her, smashed with golf balls and bricks.

Lorraine Murphy told An Phoblacht that this is the ninth time her house has been attacked by loyalist in the year since she moved to her new home. Now the young woman wants out.

"Ive only been here a year and I have had to replace every window in the front of this house," she said. "The PSNI come out and tell us that they can't do anything as the attacks come from across the road which is under the control of the PSNI from Tennent Street. Murphy said the refusal of the RUC/PSNI to say that she is being intimidated means that the Housing Executive won't grant her and her daughter priority transfer status, which means they cannot move.

After Saturday's attack, loyalists returned at around 3.45pm on Sunday afternoon and again attacked the house, using bricks and golf balls. Two bedroom windows were broken in this attack.

"Im at my wits end living here. I can't even let my child out to play. What we want is for a peaceline erected across the Springfield Road to stop these loyalist thugs from reaching our homes with their missiles and ball bearings. They even use the school facing my home to launch their attacks," said Murphy.

Lenadoon cars vandalised

Sinn Féin councillor for Lenadoon, Gerard O'Neill, has called on community leaders and others with influence in the Suffolk area to get attacks on nationalist cars stopped.

Loyalist thugs from the nearby Blacks Road smashed the windscreens of six cars in Doon Road in the early hours of Sunday 15 September.

"This is just the latest in a long line of attacks," said O'Neill. "The UDA are orchestrating attacks on nationalist homes by using young loyalist louts.

"Lenadoon Neighbourhood Watch keep an eye on young people from this area to ensure that trouble is avoided at the interface whenever possible and we want leaders on the other side to do the same." O'Neill also criticised loyalist leaders for turning a blind eye to attacks on nationalists.

Church attacked after bands parade

Nationalist residents have told An Phoblacht that bandsmen taking part in a loyalist band parade and their supporters attacked Christ the King Catholic Church in Limavady, County Derry, on Friday night 6 September.

According to Sinn Féin Councillor Francie Brolly, thousands of pounds of damage was caused to the chapel. The Sinn Fein man said that residents told him that the loyalists involved were drunk. "They marched into areas they were not permitted by the Parades Commission to enter", said Brolly, who called on the Parades Commission not to allow any more such parades in Limavady.

"How much longer are the residents of Limavady going to be held hostage to the activities of these bands, who almost weekly march through this town causing inconvenience and hassle to local residents?" he asked.

Loyalists attack house with petrol bombs

A Catholic family, living in North Belfast escaped serious injury when loyalists threw two petrol bombs at the roof of their Wyndham Street home at around 2.30am on Tuesday 17 September.

Briege Mooney told An Phoblacht that only for her son using a fire extinguisher, which a workman gave her, to douse the flames, the damage could have been much worse. This latest attack came on the sixteenth anniversary of her husband's death

"Only two weeks ago a pipe bomb was thrown at my home," she said. "They stand on steps at Torrens Crescent and target nationalist homes. The security fence at the back of these houses needs to be raised."

Mooney told An Phoblacht that the RUC/PSNI members who came to investigate the attack told her that the UDA were involved.

Sinn Féin councillor for Oldpark, Eoin Ó Broin, believes the aim of these sectarian attacks is to draw nationalists into confrontation and thus justify loyalist demands for a green field area used by nationalists at the back of Wyndham Street to be closed off.

"I am calling on the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) to explain why nationalist homes in North Belfast are coming under attack from the UDA and I'm asking Nigel Dodds to use his influence on the ground to ensure that these sectarian attacks cease," said Ó Broin.

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