Irish Republican News · April 23, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Sectarian attacks prompt marching season concern

The UDA has been blamed for a suspected sectarian gun attack on a house in County Down which a Catholic family had just moved into.

Gunmen opened fire on the privately rented property in a Protestant estate in Ballynahinch in the early hours of yesterday.

Inside, a 34-year-old man and his three children, aged 15, eight and six, barricaded themselves in an upstairs bedroom before phoning the PSNI police. At least two bullets hit the house in Calbert Way, one shattering a living-room window and showering the father with glass.

Although the victims escaped physical injury, they suffered from severe shock after their ordeal. A living-room wall, a hall door and a window were all damaged in the attack.

Local Assembly Member Willie Clarke said the “obvious intention” was to instil fear in the local nationalist community.

“People are fearful this shooting heralds a return to the planting of pipe bombs outside people’s homes and the random targeting of Catholics by Unionist paramilitaries.

“The attack comes in a week when the IMC totally ignored the reality of unionist paramilitary violence and were content to focus on alleged Republican activity at the behest of securocrats opposed to the peace process.”

Clarke said he hoped the attack on the eve of the Loyalist marching season was not a sign of things to come.

Meanwhile, there as been a pipe bomb attack at the home of a nationalist family in the Whitewell area of Belfast.

The pipe bomb, which was filled with shot gun pellets was left outside the home early Thursday morning was discovered by the homeowner on his way to work. No one was injured in the attack.

Local councilor Danny Lavery described the attack as “very serious” which could have resulted in serious injury or loss of life.

“This family is lucky to have escaped unharmed. They were attacked for no other reason than they are nationalists,” he said.

“At a time when unionists are attacking Sinn Féin over spurious allegations of IRA violence they appear to have little to say about serious attacks by unionist paramilitaries against nationalist families.

“I am demanding that unionist politicians do more to bring such attacks to an end. Sinn Féin is working hard at the interfaces across north Belfast to ensure that we have a calm and peaceful summer. To succeed we need our unionist counterparts to do the same.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News