02 December 2005

Sectarian attacks in North Belfast

An Phoblacht

01 December 2005

Amid fears that unionist paramilitaries are developing a new type of pipe bomb to be used in attacks on nationalists, tension in North Belfast is high after two men were attacked by unionist gangs over the past week.

Newtownabbey Sinn Féin Councillor Breige Meehan told An Phoblacht that she is worried that loyalists are experimenting with new bomb-making technology after a mystery explosion on Thursday night 24 November. A blast was heard near the Cullyburn Road, close to Newtownabbey Council's office and although the bomb was not targeted at anyone in particular Meehan believes unionist bombers may be testing new devices.

A 36-year-old North Belfast nationalist suffered a broken leg after a gang of loyalists ran him over in on Sunday morning 20 November. Eamonn Delaney said he and two friends had just left a 24-hour garage when a unionist mob shouted sectarian abuse and threw bottles at them before jumping into a silver Audi car and giving chase. "I got chased to the bottom of Old Church Road when the car came up behind me and I went up over the bonnet and landed on the ground. When I tried to stand up I realised my leg had been broken."

Delaney said the driver turned the Audi and drove towards him again. "I threw myself over a small fence so they could not get to me and it was only then that the car sped off."

Delaney reported the attack to the PSNI after he had his leg put in plaster in hospital. They said they were treating the attack as attempted murder.

Meanwhile a nationalist taxi driver had a lucky escape after a crowd attacked him as he dropped off a fare in the Crumlin Road area of Belfast. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was driving up Crumlin Road when his passenger asked him to drive into Cambrai Street and then on to a smaller street off the Shankill Road. "The passenger had a number of items in the boot of my car and as he went round to take them out I wound the window down to get the fare when all of a sudden a loyalist gang appeared and started punching and beating me about the face and head."

The taxi driver managed to escape and drove himself to hospital where he received treatment for bruising and facial injuries. "It was very scary because there were about ten of them. They must have recognised the taxi sign."

Sinn Féin Councillor Margaret McClenaghan called on those responsible to end the senseless attacks before someone is killed or seriously injured. "These taxi drivers, and I don't care what area they come from, are providing a very necessary service to all communities and should be left alone to do their work."


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