Youth injured in attempted loyalist abduction
Youth injured in attempted loyalist abduction


A Catholic teenager has been badly injured in a sectarian mob attack in north Belfast after he was knocked down while fleeing the attack.

Padraig Connor and his two friends were at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road when they were set upon by three men who demanded to know their religion. The gang tried to drag him into their car, but the 17-year-old escaped. However, the terrified youngster was struck by a passing taxi as he attempted to flee. He suffered a broken and dislocated left leg and was required to undergo surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The attack happened close to the Mater Hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning when the teenagers went to buy cigarettes. Padraig’s mother Bronagh Connor said they were targeted by the mob, thought to be aged in their thirties, because they are Catholic.

“They were in the garage and one of the gang was asking them are they Catholic. They were set upon because of their religion,” she said.

“They just ignored them and they tried to walk on to get into the Mater because they knew they were going to be in danger, and that’s when they started chasing them.

“Padraig nearly got in but one of them tried to grab him. He was trying to get away from the fella who was trying to get him into a car. And whatever way Padraig ran he ran out onto the main road and got knocked down.”

The mother-of-four said she felt lucky that her eldest child escaped alive, and warned other young people to be aware of the dangers of walking in the area late at night.

She added: “I am absolutely disgusted. It just makes you really angry that grown men could do this, how men can go out and do the like of that to young children - it’s just sick.

“Obviously they were being watched coming down the Crumlin Road and knew they were Catholic, walking down that way.”


Meanwhile, unionists have blocked a proposal to withdraw funding over loyalist bonfires that use racist and sectarian displays.

The move follows months of controversy over ratepayers’ cash awarded to groups organising Eleventh Night bonfires. Thousands of pounds were given by one council to a group whose bonfire was at the centre of a hate crime investigation.

Loyalists have already begun collecting material for the annual July bonfires. In west Belfast, pallets are being stored on land where a new nursery school is in the process of being built. The site, at the junction of the Lanark Way/Mayo Link, is due to become the new home of Edenderry Nursery School when completed in October.

The notorious Ballycraigy estate bonfire made global headlines in 2014 for its sectarian displays including an effigy of a hanged Gerry Adams.

Councillors on the unionist-dominated Antrim and Newtownabbey council have been holding discussions on the funding scheme for 2016. It was proposed that funding could be withheld for the “burning of any flag, emblem, posters, effigies or any other symbol that may cause offence”.

But an alternative proposal, which only imposes funding sanctions for environmental issues, was passed following support from unionist councillors.

Mark Cosgrove, the group leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, said he believes “any issues of sectarianism or racism involved in any public event is the responsibility of the police”.

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