14 October 2005

Interface attacks increase

Irelandclick.com

Despite the intervention of community workers, politicians and conflict resolution experts, the number of attacks on Catholic homes in North Belfast interface areas continue to grow. Two weeks ago the North Belfast News exclusively revealed that over 350 attacks had taken place between January and September this year. Now reports of an increase in both the veracity and relentlessness of the attacks are emerging...

Missile attack on residents of Oldpark estate

Residents of Rosevale Street just of Rosapenna Street have told of the constant barrage of missiles being thrown over the 60ft high wall and fence, which separates their homes from the Lower Oldpark Estate.
Kathleen McDonald, who has lived in the street for over 20 years, says the homes were “under sustained attack’ for the whole of last weekend.
“It started about six o’clock on Friday evening and carried on right through until Sunday evening.
“The PSNI were called but as they came down our street with the sirens blaring the stone throwers disappeared.
“Everything from screwdrivers and stones to fireworks have been hurled at us.
“You would think that they would not be able to get stuff over the big wall but they must be using catapults or something.
“Our house backs on to the wall but they are actually managing to get it right across to houses on the other side of the street.
“We really are in fear of something more serious being thrown over. I live here with my 20-year-old daughter Katrina who is about to have a baby any day now.
“The nursery was planned for the back of the house now we have to move it to the front and redecorate.”
Roisin and Phillip Rooney live next door to the McDonalds with their two children, including a three-month-old, have had their windows broken and have also suffered from the attacks.
Roisin told North Belfast News.
“We are getting really scared now.
“The constant barrage over the weekend terrified our eldest child.
“Two of our back room windows have been broken a couple of times.
“Some of the houses have had grills fitted and we will reluctantly have to consider doing the same although this seems to be giving in to the thugs. We want to live in peace and not behind high fences and bars on our windows.”

Siege in Catherine Court

Catherine Court, a small new development of about 30 houses at the bottom of the Whitewell Road, has become a living hell for the residents who moved into it just over a year ago.
Since around Easter this year the residents of the tidy little enclave have been living under siege conditions.
Gangs of young thugs have been using an alleyway, which runs from the loyalist Graymount estate to launch a barrage of attacks both physical and verbal on the residents and their cars and properties.
The attacks have escalated in recent weeks with heavy duty fireworks being launched at the homes.
Roisin Loy, whose home has borne the brunt of the nightly onslaught has appealed to have gates fitted to the alleyway to repel the attackers.
Recognising the need for the Graymount community to use the alley for excess to the shops, which include a Post Office and a Chemist, the mother-of-three young children said: “The erection of alley-gates would help stop these attacks.
“The hoods who come from as far away as Mount Vernon use it as a ‘rat run’ to mount the onslaught.
“We do not want a no-go area created for the good residents of Graymount. There are a lot of elderly folk who depend on the shops here, particularly the Chemist.
“If the gates were fitted and locked every night around six o’clock it would go a long way to stopping these attacks before someone is seriously hurt.”
Sinn Féin Councillor for Castle Ward, Tierna Cunningham, has visited the residents and is backing their claim for the gates to be fitted.
“The sectarian attacks against the small development of Catherine Court in Whitewell must be brought to an end immediately.
“People have a right to live free from sectarian harassment and attacks and clearly this isn’t happening. The residents are only trying to get on with their lives and to live in peace.
“Sinn Féin have held consultation with local residents in light of ongoing attacks and on the back of this we will be meeting with the NIO in a bid to get a secure gateway constructed on the small pathway.
“This would be similar to other gates across North Belfast that are opened during the day but closed at night time
“Unionists leaders also need to play their part.
“They need to come out strongly against these attacks and use whatever influence they have to help put an end to them.”

Journalist:: Alex Crumlin

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