A mother-of-three has had to leave her home in south Belfast after being assaulted by loyalists when she refused to hand over her child’s Catholic friends for a punishment shooting.
Two Catholic schoolboys in the Finaghy area are also now under direct threat from the paramilitary UDA.
The woman in question, who has lived in the area for ten years without incident, said her daughter was playing with two Catholic friends in the grounds of a local primary school when there was a brief dispute over a child’s scooter.
“There was a scooter lying in the street, one of the lads took it another wee lad asked for it back,” she said.
Shortly afterwards two loyalists arrived at the scene and tried to attack the two Catholic boys. One of the 16-year-olds was punched in the face during the incident, but he fought back. He punched one of the loyalists and “floored” him, according to reports, whereupon the UDA started issued threats.
The man who got punched said: ‘You better get out of this estate. You don’t know who you’re messing with’.” On Sunday evening, the PSNI called to the doors of the two boys and confirmed they were under threat from loyalist paramilitaries.
A short time later the woman was spoken to by the UDA. They wanted her daughter to lure her Catholic friends back into the area so they could be subjected to a punishment attack.
She refused to hand over the teenagers, but two days later, a UDA gang visited the property where the fight took place and attacked the woman, accusing her of speaking to the PSNI about the threat. It is unclear where they received this information.
“He kept saying, ‘you couldn’t just keep your mouth shut, you had to tell the cops’,” she said.
When the PSNI returned, they turned off their body cameras and then advised the woman against pursuing charges. They came back again, but only to formally deliver the UDA threat against her, which gave her 24 hours to evacuate her home or be killed. She has since left the property.
IRSP representative for North Belfast, Tarlach Mac Dhónaill, said the incident pointed to collusion.
“This woman has not committed any wrong doing. Her alleged crime is refusing to permit child abuse. Any right minded person would applaud the woman’s courage indeed only the criminally insane would seek to harm her for displaying such courage.”