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9 October 1997 Edition

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Plans to extend Harryville protests

by Laura Friel

Catholic churches in Ballymoney and Coleraine have been identified and may be picketed by loyalists determined to extend their sectarian campaign at Harryville.

Last week loyalists gathered for a second week outside the Catholic Church in the predominantly Protestant Harryville estate. Saturday night Mass at the Church of Our Lady was cancelled over the summer as a concilitary gesture towards defusing tension. A loyalist at the picket admitted that ``many Protestants are embarrassed'' by the picket but ``they are determined to go on.'' To date the cost to the taxpayer of loyalist pickets at Harryville has been estimated at £1.7 million.

Meanwhile, in a further outburst of sectarianism in Ballymena, a Protestant family has been targeted by loyalists because they rented a house to a Catholic tenant. In August the family's hayshed and surrounding walls were daubed with hate graffiti. The message was clear ``LVF, RIP, Houston's love Taggs(sic), Irish out of Ulster, Scum and LVF shoots Taggs(sic)'' Last week, the family was targeted again with an arson attack in which their hay shed was burnt to the ground. 500 bales of hay were lost together with an adjoining garage and family car.
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