UDA linked to sectarian attacks
UDA linked to sectarian attacks

A sectarian arson attack has destroyed an Irish language school in Castlewellan, County Down.

The attack in the early hours of Friday morning completely destroyed three temporary buildings that were being used as classrooms and a nursery and all the contents within.

Sinn Fein Assembly member for South Down Willie Clarke, whose daughter attends the school, said the attack had shocked the community, the teachers and the those who attend the school.

“What is particularly sickening is that this attack comes only days before the school and nursery were set to reopen for the new school year,” he said.

“Everything in the three portacabins has been destroyed. This includes all the schools equipment, the pupils work and the pupils files along with all the work the teachers may have prepared for the new term.”

In Ballymoney, County Antrim, the UDA have been blamed for forcing a Catholic family to move out of their home of 40 years.

Shortly after an attack in which their car was damaged and graffiti daubed on the walls of their home, they received a threat and were left with no option but to move out.

The graffiti referred to last week’s contentious loyalist band parade in nearby Rasharkin.

Sinn Fein Councillor Philip McGuigan said it was clear the UDA were responsible.

“The UDA need to wise up and stop harassing people because of their religion and let them get on with their lives. This is a very sinister threat which the family, quite rightly, have taken seriously,” he added.

The family have told UTV they were too distressed to speak to the media.

Graffiti and was also daubed on the Ancient Order of Hibernian hall at Rosnashane, a nearby Gaelic club, a parochial hall and a pub.

Meanwhile, a minibus used by the Doyle Youth Club from the Short Strand in east Belfast was also badly damaged in a separate sectarian attack.

The bus was attacked while children from the club, aged between 12 and 14, were playing a football match in nearby Victoria Park.

Local Sinn Fein representative Niall O Donnghaile said that thankfully, no one was hurt in the attack “although undoubtedly this will cause a great deal of trauma to the children, not just who were there last night, but the children who depend on this bus week in and week out.”

He said the youth club depended on the vehicle which is used “ironically enough, quite often for the purposes of cross-community work and engagement”.

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