Irish Republican News · July 25, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Churches attacked

Holy Cross Catholic church in north Belfast came under petrol bomb attack at the weekend.

Loyalists were also blamed today for setting fire to a bar and attacking two Catholic churches with paint bombs near Ballymena in County Antrim.

Three devices were launched at the Ardoyne church at around 2 am on Saturday morning. Firefighters attending the blaze were attacked by people from the unionist Woodvale area.

The area was the scene of rioting by nationalists two weeks’ ago when a controversial anti-Catholic parade was forced through the area.

The adjoining school was the scene of international media attention in the past when nationalist children were subjected to a gauntlet of abuse and violence on their way to and from school.

Parish priest Father Aidan Troy said he was thankful that no-one was injured in the attack, but that it had put people in danger.

“Once you throw a naked light into a house where people are sleeping, and a monastery is a house, then you have, in one sense, endangered their lives,” he said.

“I wouldn’t want to say that there was anybody very close to it, but it could have gone wrong, it could have gone disastrously wrong.”

Last week, Fr Troy appealed for the release of prominent republican Sean Kelly who recently was sent back to prison for reasons which have not been explained. A number of unionist politicians condemned Fr Troy for the call.

Sinn Féin North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly said there was no justification for the attack.

“Holy Cross monastery is a focal point for the local nationalist community and last night’s attack targeted this,” he said.

“It could very easily have been much worse. It is fortunate that we are not dealing with worse damage here, and indeed deaths, as a result of this petrol bomb attack.”

He said unionist leaders must use whatever influence they have to bring such attacks to an end.

  • Paint bombs were also thrown at the churches on Ballymena’s Crebilly Road and Broughshane Road last [Monday] night. Sectarian slogans have once again been painted on the Harryville church outside Ballymena. Extensive fire damage was also caused to a pub at nearby Martinstown.

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