02 September 2005

More sectarian attacks


Smash attack on home - Catholic family’s home attacked

A Catholic family who live in the Whitewell area had their front window smashed by a loyalist gang on Tuesday night.

The attack on the house follows a sharp increase in attacks on the community in the past month.
A PSNI spokeswoman said detectives have yet to establish a motive for the attack.
Earlier in the week the home of a nationalist family at Old Throne Park, which is also in the Whitewell area, was attacked with paint bombs.
North Belfast Sinn Féin assemblyman Gerry Kelly has requested a meeting with Irish Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, to discuss the situation.
“Over the past number of weeks the sectarian campaign being waged against Catholics and nationalists has intensified,” the MLA said.
“It has not met with a robust response from the PSNI. In fact the contrary would appear to be the position.
“Instead of confronting those organisations responsible, too often the PSNI has publicly failed to even acknowledge that the motivation behind this campaign is sectarian.
“In doing so they are providing cover for those behind the nightly attacks and sending out a message that there is a toleration of loyalist violence and an acceptance that these attacks will continue without hindrance.”
Gerry Kelly said the fact no one has appeared in court in relation to recent attacks on nationalists is proof the PSNI is not doing its best to address the situation.
SDLP Deputy Mayor of Belfast Pat Convery has condemned the attack along with the weekend petrol and paint bomb attacks at Greymount Park and Old Throne Park.
“There is no sense or justification for anyone to throw petrol bombs. In the past we’ve seen the death and destruction they can cause, and it really is shameful that there are still some people in Belfast intent on raising tensions and causing serious damage and suffering,” he said.
“These wicked attacks must stop and they must stop now.
“I appeal to the local community to fully co-operate with police investigating these attacks.”

Bleach Green family attacked again

Sectarian thugs have revisited the McKay family home in Bleach Green Avenue in Newtownabbey.
Marie McKay who lives with her daughter Charlotte was also the subject of an attack in July when they had their van, an essential part of a painting and decorating business, set on fire.
A boat and a jeep belonging to the family were also destroyed in a previous incendiary attack.
The Catholic family, who have lived in the predominantly Protestant estate for nearly 30 years, have now been subjected to a paint bomb attack.
Twenty-year-old Charlotte had been at the kitchen sink when the attackers struck.
“I was just washing a few cups before I went to bed and was startled by what sounded like a scuffle in our back.
“The next thing I heard was the smashing of the paint bombs against the wall and window.
“I was directly in front of the window. It was really frightening.”
Mrs McKay is bewildered as to why her home and family are being singled out.
“We have lived here since the estate was built. I have never had any problems with my neighbours. They were the first to come after these attacks. You could not ask for better people to live with.
“I reared my seven children in this house. They are all married now except for Charlotte who still lives with me.
“Some of my children are married to protestants and we have always employed protestants in the family business.
“Why are we being picked on?”
SDLP Councillor Noreen McClelland has expressed her concern that there has been another sectarian attack and stated: “Obviously our thoughts are with this family having been attacked once again.
“These attacks are totally despicable and the upset and distress caused to the families is simply immeasurable.
“Those who carried out this attack in Bleach Green have no respect for the family or their property and I totally condemn this vicious, unprovoked, sectarian attack.”

Call for more security after latest Old Throne attacks

Families who live in the Old Throne housing estate, which backs onto Hazelwood Integrated Primary School, have called for tighter security and want a buffer zone created between the school and their homes.

Residents of the estate, which is just off the Whitewell Road, say that youths from White City are breaking into the primary school and using its grounds as a base to launch attacks.
The latest attacks on the homes came in the early hours of Monday morning when two houses were attacked.
John Meredith was up late watching a film on TV and immediately after he switched off his living room lights the attack was launched, he said.
“It was a total shock. I had just switched the light of and I heard two very loud bangs. At first I thought it was a blast bomb or something like that. The attackers are obviously very determined. They lay in wait until the lights went out.
“It was a stinking night outside, it was blowing a gale and the rain was bouncing. Why anybody would even be out on a night like that, never mind lying in a field awaiting their chance to attack us is beyond me.”
Mr Meredith’s wife Kellie and two children Megan (9) and Darragh (3) were asleep at the time.
The paint bombs hit the patio window smashing the double glazing and causing substantial damage to the house.
John Meredith called for more protection.
“The attacks come from the school grounds and have been ongoing for months now. Something needs to be done about the security arrangements.
“There is a notice saying that there is 24-hour guarding, that is joke I have never seen any security guards patrolling in all the time I have lived here.’’
A simultaneous attack was carried out on his next-door neighbours with the paint hitting an upstairs bedroom window just feet away from Ann Marie Brown’s children’s bunk beds.
“I really fear for my family’s lives if these had have been petrol bombs or anything more lethal someone would have been killed,” said Mrs Brown.
SF Councillor Tierna Cunningham said the attacks were part of a continuing sectarian campaign and has slammed both the attacks in Old Throne and Graymount.
“The Whitewell has seen a long list of attacks against nationalists since before Christmas.
“Clearly a pattern has emerged here and it is one that has to be brought to an end.
“I have appealed before, and I am appealing yet again, for those with influence in the loyalist community to do whatever is in their power to bring attacks in the Whitewell to an end.
“These attacks are wrong from whatever section of the community they come from and need to be brought to an end immediately.
“Sunday night saw three homes being attacked in Old Throne and Graymount. Those who are carrying out the attacks need to desist now before somebody is seriously injure or killed.
"Some residents have raised concerns about attacks like this being launched from Hazelwood's grounds, but my understanding is that Hazelwood has 24-hour security and it should be examined in order to help stop these attacks.
"However this should not deflect from where these attacks are coming from, or who is behind them.
“Ultimately it is up to loyalist and unionist political representatives responsible, to do what they can to help stop attacks being launched from the school grounds.
“Sinn Féin has been vociferous in its opposition to such attacks and have been working actively to bring them to an end.
“What we need to see now is Unionist political leaders taking the same action not just in North Belfast but right across the North of Ireland.
“They sit with loyalist paramilitaries on forums and need to be using these platforms to put whatever pressure they have to influence loyalist paramilitaries and help end sectarian attacks.”

No other way says mum

Young mother Caitriona Savage says there is “no other way but to go” after her home was the target of a paint-bomb attack at around 7pm last Saturday night.

Ms Savage had just finished feeding her 10-month-old daughter Aimee in the kitchen and made her way into her living room when she heard a large bang at the rear of her rented house.
Aimee’s toy car and clothes on the washing line were destroyed in the attack although no-one was hurt.
Ms Savage says that she saw up to 12 men, aged between 18 to their early 20s from the upstairs window of her home.
She added: “five or six paint bombs were thrown” but only two hit.
The young mother has lived at the property for a year and a half and says this is the fourth attack on her home.
She has begun packing up her belongings and is insistent on leaving saying: “I haven’t eaten since it happened, I don’t know who else to turn to.”

Brick attack on home

A mother of four has said she is going to leave her home after it was attacked this week.
A brick was thrown through the hall window of her house at Deerpark Road on Monday night at 10.30pm.
The Catholic woman who lives in the house with her four children has said she now intends to move out.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, has lived in the house for the past year.
She said her house had been attacked twice before and she believes both incidents were sectarian.
The PSNI said it is treating the incident as criminal damage, and that enquiries are continuing.
Councillor for the area Danny Lavery said he condemned the attack.
“I would call on unionist politicians to control unionist paramilitaries. It seems like its almost ethnic cleansing that’s going on here, and the British Government and Secretary of State seem to have their heads in the sand.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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