Irish Republican News · December 8, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Collusion suspected in gun attacks

Between eight and 10 houses belonging to republicans in west Belfast were targeted in gun attacks on Friday evening in the Finagy, Riverdale and Lenadoon areas.

The homes of Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler and assembly member Gerry Kelly, the party's spokesman on policing, were among those targeted.

Loyalist (unionist) paramilitaries were blamed for the attacks, involving either ball-bearing or regular gunfire. But there were some suspicions that those involved had received information from British forces.

It was also noted that many of the attacks had been carried out just yards from PSNI police bases.

Last night Mr Butler, whose partner and two children were in their Lenadoon home at the time of the attack, said he had no doubt loyalists were involved.

``The houses that were attacked, mine, Gerry Kelly and other houses were leading republicans in Belfast. Clearly loyalists are behind it,'' he said.

``The question I'm asking is where are they getting this information on where we live?''

His house has been targeted a number of times over the last few months.

``I'll obviously be more vigilant and taking additional security measures,'' Mr Butler said.

``This is the third attack on my house. What are the police doing about all this?''

Asked if dissident republicans could have been behind Friday's spate of incidents, he said: ``Why would they want to target out houses, there is nothing in it for them.

``At the minute there is a political vacuum, that vacuum is being filled by these people (loyalists).

``No-one was injured this time but these things escalate. We need to get the institutions up and running so we can isolate these people,'' he added.

  • Unionist paramilitaries also carried out a vicious sledgehammer attack in which a man suffered two broken legs and head injuries yesterday. Up to six masked men burst into the 44-year-old victim's in Bangor, County Down before beating him, leaving him seriously injured.

    Two men were arrested in connection with the assault, understood to be part of a paramilitary feud over drugs.

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