Orchestrated violence at soccer final
Orchestrated violence at soccer final

Unionist paramilitaries have been blamed for orchestrating violence which marred Saturday’s Irish Cup soccer final at Windsor Park in Belfast.

One man was arrested and three were taken to hospital on Saturday when fighting broke out during the Glentoran-Coleraine fixture.

Shortly before half-time, a number of men, some armed with knives and metal batons, began attacking Glentoran supporters in the North Stand.

Unionist paramilitaries are believed to have carried out the attack in revenge for an incident at last week’s game between Glentoran and Linfield.

Two men are believed to have suffered stab wounds during the disturbances, while others suffered head injuries.

One man said that the attacks appeared to have been carefully planned.

“It appeared there was a group of about 10 to 15 guys orchestrating the trouble,” he said.

“They were clearly holding something in their hands and they were running around cracking fans over the head with it.

“I could see men with blood pouring from their heads, and some with serious injuries.”

* Another Sinn Féin councillor’s home has been attacked with a ball-bearing gun in the Belfast area.

Lisburn Councillor Veronica Willis is the latest Sinn Féin representative to endure the intimidatory attacks in which windows are shattered by the unionists paramilitaries.

Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Paul Butler said the attack in Poleglass could have lead to injuries. He suggested those carrying out the lengthy series of attacks were receiving information from the PSNI police.

“It is now very clear that there is an ongoing and orchestrated campaign of intimidation being carried out against Sinn Féin. If this was happening to any other political party there would be a media and political outcry.

“But as with the campaign of British state sponsored murder carried out against our party in the late 1980s and early 1990s these attacks are being largely ignored.”

  • A nationalist politician whose home was daubed with paint at the weekend has said people from his own community are responsible for the attack.

    South Belfast SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy was speaking after paint was thrown at his house and his wife’s car in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    It was the third time the family home in the lower Ormeau area had been targeted in as many weeks.

    “There are certain people in my own area who are not happy that I am raising questions about the creaming off of public funds aimed at targeting social deprivation in the Shaftesbury ward.

    “There are literally millions coming into this area and disappearing,” he said.

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