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11 June 1998 Edition

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Tensions rise in North Belfast

By Mick Naughton.

Nationalist homes were again attacked in North Belfast in an area adjacent to the contentious route of the `Tour of the North' Orange march planned for 19 June.

Margaret O'Neill of Rosevale Street, whose home was attacked on Monday, said the experience had been ``absolutely terrifying''. She said loyalists gathered at around 11pm and the attacks didnj't stop until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Mrs O'Neill's complained that her three children required psychiatric treatment after the attacks which smashed her roof and exposed her home to damage from heavy rain.

``Attitudes are hardening within the affected areas, particularly after the attacks. The community will oppose the march in whatever peaceful means at their disposal'', said Sinn Fein's Bobby Lavery.

Meanwhile Gerry Adams joined North Belfast candidates Gerry Kelly and Martina McIlkenny in cautioning that trouble may arise if the `Tour of the North' is allowed to proceed.

``There is a head of steam building up around the so-called `Tour of the North', which passes through nationalist areas. To date there has been no effort by the Orange Order to broker an accommodation. This is a matter of deep concern. Last year the British government faced its first real test on the Garvaghy Road. It failed that test and the Orange card triumphed. Will it do so again?'' he asked.

``The Good Friday document, under Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity, specifically establishes `the right to freedom from sectarian harassment' as a fundamental human right. If this is to mean anything the British government especially must stand up for equality and human and civil rights and defend the rights of residents.''
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