27 April 2006 Edition

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Victim of loyalist intimidation refused housing

Sinn Féin councillor, Billy Leonard, has invoked the Freedom of Information Act to uncover details about the case of a homeless Coleraine nationalist who has been refused a house in the town by the Housing Executive.

The man who has been the target of loyalist intimidation, was born and raised in Coleraine and has family in the area yet, despite being awarded intimidation points by the Housing Executive, has been refused accomodation in the area.

Billy Leonard has demanded all documents and details of phone contacts between the Housing Executive and the PSNI relating to the case. "This is obviously very distressing for the man and his family circle but it could also create a very dangerous precedent. Sinn Féin is extremely suspicious of the motives and the process itself.

"This man was threatened but, unfortunately, many more people in the Coleraine area have also been threatened. Yet in this case the man was told that he would not be housed in any part of the town. This drastic treatment was not meted out to anyone else, therefore the man and Sinn Féin feel that this is a violation of his rights."

Leonard continued: "If the PSNI and the Housing Executive followed their position through they would have to refuse housing to many people. We would have an exodus of nationalists and Catholics from Coleraine.

"Sinn Féin is asking whether there is an agenda at work based on religion or politics. Is this the new housing discrimination whereby a PSNI officer can, by the stroke of a pen, shape Housing Executive decisions on who gets a home in Coleraine?

"If this is political cleansing we will fight it through the courts and wherever else is required."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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