Loyalists blamed for racist and sectarian attacks


Loyalists carried out a shocking attack on a Polish man whose home in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, was attacked by masked men with stone slabs and hammers.

Disturbing CCTV footage shows the men smashing the windows of his home on two occasions.

Jacek Sikorski moved to Ireland from Warsaw seven years ago and bought a house in the town north of Belfast, with his partner, who is also Polish, five years ago.

It is believed that the attacks, which began in February, are down to their nationalities. Polish citizens have previously been attacked by loyalists for both racist and sectarian reasons.

Mr Sikorski fears they will continue and escalate in seriousness.

In the first attack in February, three men with hoods covering their faces knocked on the door. No one answered, but the incident was caught on CCTV.

The following week, the couple’s windows were smashed.

“Two people came. They had hammers and balaclavas,” Mr Sikorski said.

One man threw a stone slab through the window, while another smashed a smaller window in the front door. Their windows were smashed again on Wednesday.

Mr Sikorski’s partner was in the house alone while he was at his job as a chef.

“Three guys were at the door. They smashed the windows and ran out,” he said.

The windows of his car were also broken. Mr Sikorski said he had worked hard to establish a life in Ireland and was in the middle of renovating the house.

He described the effect the attacks had on him and his partner’s mental health.

He asked: “What can I do? I’m working, I’ve got a mortgage.

“I’ve got to [get] through this stressful situation and work and pay the bills.

It’s hard to sleep. When you’re coming back [from work], you can’t relax because you have to think about smashed windows. What will be next?”

Meanwhile, a savage sectarian attack on a young man on the Limestone Road in North Belfast in the early hours of Sunday morning has also been condemned.

The area has previously suffered attacks on young nationalist by a gang of loyalist youths. The latest attack has left another Catholic teenager seeking hospital treatment for serious head injuries.

Sinn Féin North Belfast representative Caral Ni Chuilin condemned the attack on the 18-year-old, who has not been named, as “vicious” and “disgraceful”.

“This is now being treated as a sectarian hate crime, and I would urge anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward to the police,” she said.

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