PSNI failed to act over sectarian intimidation

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A Catholic mother-of-four has been driven out of her home in north Belfast following a campaign of terror which culminated in her windows getting smashed in.

The woman and her children - aged 12 and under - have taken shelter with relatives after the windows of their house at Alliance Close were broken by missiles. The woman is in fear for her life and is unable to sleep after her children were traumatised by the attack.

The area lies between loyalist Glenbryn and the nationalist Alliance Avenue. SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said the PSNI should have done more to protect the family after the intimidation began.

“In December, police were alerted to the threat towards her because she was Catholic. There were individuals standing at her front door with their hoods up shouting at her to get out. They were aware of this. They were told this information and what was done to try and investigate where they came from.

“It is a failing [by the PSNI]. They had put alarms in because of the threat, but the men, all in their twenties were allowed to carry on - and those behind it should be ashamed of themselves.”

The PSNI had advised the family to leave their home recently after a letter saying “1st warning. Taigs [Catholics] Out. Community will not tolerate” was posted through their letterbox. A similar note was also posted on the window.

Mr McCusker also criticised the “lack of leadership” from unionist politicians.

“If this had happened in Ardoyne I’d be standing at that family’s front door and telling (those intimidating them) to clear off,” he said. “Unionist politicians from north Belfast must show leadership within their communities and strongly condemn this despicable act.

“I am calling on the DUP and others to make it clear they do not support this action and that it will not be tolerated. Their failure to do so thus far has been deafening.”

© 2020 Irish Republican News