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24 September 1998 Edition

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Whitewell - a tragedy waiting to happen

by Sean O'Tuama

The Ballymoney atrocity almost reoccurred last weekend in the Whitewell area of North Belfast when petrol was poured through the letterbox of a house in the nationalist enclave. Fortunately the house was empty at the time and only minor damage was sustained to the hallway.

The marauding gang of loyalist youths responsible for the attack last Friday night also vandalised over a dozen cars and smashed the windows of a number of houses in the area during this latest sectarian onslaught from the loyalist Graymount estate.

The following night three houses in the neighbouring loyalist White City estate had their windows smashed as Catholic youths retaliated for the earlier attacks.

Paul McKiernan, chairman of the Whitewell and District Residents Association, said the attacks on the small nationalist community were ``a nightly thing, but the only way the situation will be sorted is if community leaders from both sides get together to resolve the issue.''

However when An Phoblacht spoke to McKiernan on Tuesday, following another petrol bomb attack on a house in the area the previous night, he confirmed that community leaders in Graymount have consistently refused to meet the nationalist residents to avert further trouble. He added, ``I'm now calling on loyalist and unionist politicians to urge the White City community to engage in dialogue.''

White City residents have called for another `peaceline' to be built in the area despite the fact that the existing two peacewalls have not prevented the attacks.
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An Phoblacht
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