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21 October 1999 Edition

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RUC ignore sectarian attack

A Catholic grandmother who, with her daughter, was viciously assaulted by loyalists in Larne at the weekend, has accused the RUC of turning a blind eye to the incident.

Elizabeth Brown and her daughter were assaulted by a loyalist mob in a bar in the County Antrim town. She said one of a group of drinkers approached them and asked them their religion.

``When I told them I was a Catholic they started calling us Fenian bastards,'' she said, explain how she was then punched to the ground and attacked with glasses.

The women left the bar and approached an armoured RUC car. The RUC officers refused to take the women home so she asked them to stay in the area until they were safely away but, ``they said they couldn't do anything because there was drink involved and drove off''.

A couple of minutes after the RUC left, the loyalist gang pursued the women through the street, shouting sectarian abuse. Elizabeth Brown made her way to a phone box to again seek help from the RUC, but the loyalists pulled her from the phone box and carried on the attack. Around a dozen men and women were involved in the assault.

The loyalist mob ran off when they saw an armoured RUC car arrive but Mrs Brown says that the RUC made no attempt to catch her attackers. To add insult to injury, when Elizabeth Brown's second daughter, pregnant at the time, ran from her nearby home and remonstrated with the RUC officers, she was told she was being arrested for a breach of the peace.

The pregnant daughter was allowed to go free at the scene but gave birth on Tuesday 19 October, two weeks before she was due.

Paul Farrell of McIvor Farrell solicitors says that he is aware of two similar cases involving Catholics in Larne.
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