Attacks on homes, school

Catholic homes in Lurgan and a school in County Derry came under attack at the weekend.

Sinn Féin councillor Michael Tallon said that a loyalist crowd attacked nationalist homes on Antrim Road in the town shortly after 6.30pm on Sunday with stones, bottles and at least two petrol bombs.

One elderly Catholic woman was struck on the shoulder while a young boy sustained severe injuries to his arm.

Mr Tallon questioned why the loyalists were not identified by police video as the gang made its way through a public park to attack the nationalist homes.

Mr Tallon said the weekend attacks were the latest in a series of similar incidents in recent weeks.

“Over the past two weeks, gangs of loyalists have been roaming Lurgan Park seeking out nationalist victims.

“In one incident, two children returning from the swimming pool adjacent to the park were assaulted and in another incident two Catholic girls were also assaulted in the park’s play area.

“I will be raising these matters within council and directly with council officers as this park is owned by Craigavon Council.”

Meanwhile, loyalists have been blamed for an arson attack on a Catholic school in County Derry.

St Patrick’s Primary School in Garvagh suffered scorch damage after petrol bombs were thrown early on Tuesday.

SDLP East Derry assembly member John Dallat said: “This was a despicable attack and it is only by sheer luck that more damage was not caused. It takes a particularly low kind of coward to attack a primary school.

“Unlike the school, they contribute nothing to the local community. It is clear that there is a small unrepresentative element of sectarian bigots trying to stoke up sectarian tensions and intimidate at a time when the vast majority of people in Garvagh are working for a peaceful community.

“I have been in contact with the local police and have received assurances that PSNI patrols will be considerably strengthened in Garvagh in the summer months.

“On top of this, we must also take responsibility as a community. There should be no tolerance towards anyone involved in any kind of sectarianism.”

Coleraine Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard said: “This is a needless act carried out by people who are very calculated in where they go to and what they do to raise tension. To attack a place devoted to educating our young people is grotesque. In this case, it is also sectarian but unfortunately there are loyalists in the Garvagh area that are devoted to this pathetic approach to life. However, the decent people who do not want to be associated with this deed will surely not be dragged down by the action of the bigots.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News