Irish Republican News · August 20, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Intimidation of nationalists in Derry, Antrim

The Catholic owned ‘Clock Bar’ has closed in a County Derry village after a series of unchecked attacks on staff, customers and property by a unionist gang.

One man, who did not want to be identified, said Catholics in the predominantly Protestant town suffered “almost daily hell”. He said young Catholics left the town “en masse” every weekend to avoid being attacked by the gang.

He said the streets of Garvagh were a “no go area” for Catholics in the aftermath of Protestant marches.

The man, who has lived in Garvagh all his life, said he was proud to come from the town despite the sectarian attacks and intimidation.

“Everyone in Garvagh knows who these people are and I mean everyone including the police,” he said.

“I have many good and loyal Protestant friends who are aff-ronted by what is happening, but they, like me, cannot be identified because we know what will happen.

“It’s hard to imagine the terror these people inflict on residents and business people who have lived and operated here all their lives.

“People have been beaten senseless, windows are regularly smash-ed, doors kicked in and cars attacked, but the police never do anything about it despite being told time and again.

“Ordinary people, both Catholic and Protestant, are fed up but at the same time wondering what they can do. People are just ready to flip.”

In other news this week, five young nationalists in Ballymena, County Antrim, have been subjected to death threats. Their homes in Ballymena were visited by the PSNI who conveyed the threats.

“I have no doubt that unionist paramilitaries are behind what is the latest stage in a long campaign against Catholics living in Ballymena,” said local Sinn Féin representative Philip McGuigan.

“Given the repeated denomination of the small nationalist community in the town by all of the unionist political representatives it is not surprising that those paramilitaries within their community react in this fashion.

“The threats and intimidation against the nationalist community in Ballymena are the direct product of the type of political leadership provided by unionist politicians in the area.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News