Tensions increase ahead of marching season
Tensions increase ahead of marching season

A Catholic pensioner of 91 was attacked in her home during the week amid a number of violent incidents across the North.

Paint bombs and large stones were thrown at the home of Agnes Clarke on the Crumlin Road near the Ardoyne shops in north Belfast.

With the height of the marching season approaching, relatives are increasingly fearful for her safety.

Mrs Clarke, a mother-of-nine, was asleep when her home was targeted.

Her daughter Kathleen was in the front bedroom when the window was pelted but she escaped injury.

The last attack on the house two years ago prompted the family to move Mrs Clarke to the back of the property because they feared that she could be killed or seriously hurt.

Her grown-up children now take turns to stay every night.

“I am years and years struggling here,” Mrs Clarke said.

“This happened on a regular basis but it hasn’t been done in a few years. I don’t know what to do.

“It frightened me, all the rattles and all.

“I was worried about my daughter. She got the worst of it. She is very lucky she wasn’t hurt.

“They shouldn’t be doing it, especially on people not able to move.

“What can I do? I can’t chase them away.”

Medanwhile, a Catholic man has claimed he is unable to return to his Ballymena home after he was chased by a pair of machete-wielding loyalists.

Ciaran Magill has said he was forced to flee the County Antrim town last Sunday after being chased through the town’s Dunvale estate by two loyalists carrying machetes.

The 19-year-old said he had been targeted because he was a Catholic and had been wearing a Celtic soccer jersey when the incident took place.

“Everybody is very mindful of what happened to Michael McIlveen.

“Every Catholic, nationalist and republican is keeping their heads down in Ballymena because they are scared of what the loyalists will do next. I used to live in Ballymena but left because of attacks.

“I returned a couple of weeks ago and now this has happened.

“Now I have to leave again because of loyalists and the police. The PSNI are that sectarian and bigoted, they will try to do me and not those who chased me.

“I’m waiting for the police to come for me. I’m a Catholic. It’s me they’re going to come after, not the loyalists,” said Mr Magill.

Ballymena Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney said: “In the wake of Michael McIlveen’s death, it is clear nothing has changed and that loyalists feel they can go into nationalist areas with machetes and baseball bats and attack young Catholics.

“Questions have to be asked why the police are nowhere to be seen when these incidents happen.”

* Republican hardliners carried out a string of bomb hoaxes which brought parts of Belfast to a standstill on Friday afternoon.

There were traffic jams in south and central Belfast following a number of telephone warnings. British Army units tackled a hoax device on Clifton Street in the city centre, while other searches found nothing.

It was suggested the hoaxes may have been a response to the Court of Appeal ruling backing the decision to appoint members of the Orange Order to the Parades Commission.

* In a sectarian attack at Antrim, a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were stabbed while hosting a barbecue at the weekend.

* The PSNI clashed with a crowd in Maghera, County Derry. An Orange Hall at nearby Killygullib was petrol bombed following the incident, the details of which remains unclear.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News