08 February 2006

Antrim arson attack was attempted murder

An Phoblacht

9 February 2006

Sectarian attack - Stoneyford family targeted by unionists

Loyalists have been accused of attempted murder by a man whose home they attacked. The man has also criticised the PSNI who refused to describe the arson attack as sectarian. "The dogs in the streets know the names of the loyalists involved but the PSNI totally ignore these details," he said .

A unionist gang torched the house in Stoneyford, County Antrim in the early hours of Thursday morning 2 February. A 31-year-old man, his 25-year-old partner and their five-year-old daughter escaped serious injury after a gang of loyalists poured petrol over the front door of their Stoneybridge Meadows home.

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Butler told An Phoblacht that, "the PSNI know who is behind the on-going campaign of sectarianism against nationalists in Stoneyford but have shown no interest in dealing with them."

Butler added he would be meeting Dublin Government representatives in the coming weeks to raise ongoing sectarianism in Stoneyford. "The Dublin Government is not doing enough to safeguard the rights of nationalists in Lisburn and Stoneyford. Indeed it has been only too willing to accept PSNI briefings despite that force's refusal, against all the evidence, to attribute the attacks to loyalists," he said.

The attack was captured on a CCTV camera which the family installed on their in the aftermath of previous attacks. Still pictures show the loyalists approaching the house just before 1am.

The family managed to escape after the alarm was raised by neighbours.

"We were worried for our daughter because the whole door was engulfed with the flames. We used a garden hose on the flames until the fire brigade arrived," said the householder.

In previous attacks loyalists smashed his front door and threw paint bombs at the house. "They come at night when people are in bed. They are nothing but sectarian cowards. All the people who live on this mixed estate just want to live in peace with each other".

Meanwhile An Phoblacht has learned that a well-known loyalist, with connections to the Orange Volunteers, was arrested and questioned by the PSNI last week

The arrest came after unionists threatened nationalist youths wearing GAA tops as they walked through Stoneyford village.

The man was later released.

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