8 July 2004 Edition

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Attack Roundup

Hospital worker under loyalist threat

A 25-year-old Catholic employee of Belfast's Mater Hospital has been told by the PSNI that he is under threat of death from loyalists.

The man arrived for work on Sunday 4 July and was told the PSNI wanted to speak to him. When the man contacted the PSNI he was informed that loyalists had issued a threat against him.

According to the PSNI, an anonymous caller to the Samaritans had warned that the Catholic worker would be shot dead in the hospital that night (Sunday).

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he has no idea why he is being targeted.

This is the second time in three years that loyalists have threatened to kill Catholic workers in the North Belfast hospital.

In June, patients in the Mater had to be locked in wards after a 40-strong loyalist mob involved in the infamous Tour of the North Orange Parade attacked the hospital's Casualty Department.

A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that the threat had been issued and called for it to be lifted.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Councillor Caral Ní Chuilín has called on unionist politicians and community leaders to do everything in their power to have the death threat lifted.

Students assaulted

A group of students, returning home from a night out in Derry city centre, were set upon by a loyalist gang armed with sticks.

The attack occurred near to the loyalist Fountain Street Estate last weekend when the students were walking towards Carlisle Road.

The gang of loyalists, who were hanging around at the top of Artillery Street, began shouting at the students, calling them 'Fenian bastards'.

One of the students who received a number of staples to a head wound explained that between 15 and 20 loyalists gathered around them and began hitting them with the sticks.

"They weren't young, they were between 18 and 30 and were carrying CB radios so we thought they were out protecting the Fountain after the recent trouble, but these people were drunk and decided to pick on anyone they thought were nationalists."

The student said that the loyalists had him and his friends surrounded and that he was struck across the head with a stick and fell to the ground.

"We managed to take some of the sticks from the gang and were defending ourselves. Then the PSNI arrived and the loyalists ran off into the Fountain."

UDA threaten SDLP councillor's mother

North Antrim Sinn Féin Councillor Oliver McMullan is accusing Independent Unionist Councillor Jack McKee of "going out of his way to justify the unionist paramilitary threat" made by loyalists against a Larne woman.

Loyalists threatened to kill Rosaleen O'Connor, whose son is SDLP politician Danny O'Connor, after she confronted them as they erected an Ulster flag outside her home.

The loyalists, thought to be leading UDA members in the area, threatened the woman's life and verbally abused her as they put a loyalist flag on a pole in front of her home in the town's Craigyhill Estate on Monday night 5 July.

O'Connor, who suffers from asthma, had to be rushed to hospital and sedated after the incident.

Councillor McKee, a former DUP councillor, said he condemned the threats but added: "Mr O'Connor must bear some of the responsibility. He spent last week complaining and condemning Larne Borough Council for erecting bunting (for this year's 12th)."

McKee went on to say that Rosaleen O'Connor, "went out of her way to be verbally abused" when she came out of the house and challenged the erection of the flag.

Oliver McMullan is calling on McKee to withdraw his remarks, which, he says, "go down the road of justifying this death threat".

Meanwhile, Danny O'Connor, who represents the SDLP on the Larne District Policing Partnership, is threatening to resign from the board after accusing the PSNI of backtracking on a pledge not to tolerate intimidatory placing of any political flags.

Elderly couple's home stoned

A Catholic pensioner escaped serious injury after a loyalist gang hurled a rock through the bedroom window of her Newry home in the early hours of Sunday 4 July.

Mary Mallon was asleep in the front room of the bungalow she shares with her husband in Chestnut Grove when the sound of smashing glass wakened her.

The pensioner looked out and saw the loyalist gang smashing the windows of the family car. According to the woman, as she was raising the window blinds to see what was happening one of the gang hurled a "big boulder" through the window at her.

However, the rock caught the blinds, saving Mallon from serious injury.

The loyalist thugs smashed three front windows of the home.

Stephen Mallon said a neighbour told him that as the gang made their escape by car, they were shouting 'Up the LVF' as they sped off.

Blair raids pensioner's house

The PSNI raided a pensioner's home in the Bogside on Wednesday morning. A cardboard tube used to send photos through the post was taken away on the breathtakingly incredible grounds that it could be used to prepare a hoax device. One of the PSNI members involved in this daring swoop for non-existent weapons of mass destruction was the aptly named Detective Constable Anthony Blair.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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