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18 May 2000 Edition

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Ardoyne loyalist threat

Fears that loyalists are about to carry out attacks on nationalists in North Belfast were heightened at the weekend after an Ardoyne man received a bullet through the post.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a republican ex-POW and says he is ``very shaken''.

An Phoblacht has been told that within hours of this threat, known loyalists were spotted near an ex-prisoners' resource centre in Ardoyne.

The bullet, inside a sympathy card signed by the Red Hand Defenders, arrived by post at the man's house on Friday 13 May and warned him that he would not get any more warnings.

The card also contained information about the man's movements.

This latest threat comes just two weeks after crown force montages with the personal details of nationalists, mostly from the north of the city, were found in a loyalist dump in the Highfield Estate.

Calling for an inquiry, Sinn Féin councillor Gerard Brophy said the information was recent: ``These are files on nationalists that have been drawn up over the last 18 months and then handed over to loyalists,'' he said.

In March of this year a list containing the details of 27 nationalists was found in a community centre on the Shankill Road. This list was handed over to UDP councillor Frank McCoubrey.

Detailed information contained in that list was thought to have been used, at that time, to target some of the people named.

At the time, Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly accused councillor McCoubrey of attempting to cover up the existence of the list.

Speaking about last Friday's threat, Kelly accused loyalists of trying to, ``wreck the Good Friday Agreement''.

Meanwhile, veteran Ardoyne republican Martin Meehan has told An Phoblacht that the RUC warned him twice last week that his life is in imminent danger.

According to Meehan, the RUC came to his house on 5 May to warn him of a loyalist threat against him.

``They came again on 12 May to say that a coded threat against myself and my son, Martin junior, had been phoned through to the Samaritans from a loyalist grouping.''

Meehan criticised the RUC, who refused to give him any more information about the nature of the threat or which loyalist group was involved.

Tyrone man receives bullet threat

A County Tyrone man who received a bullet in the post last week is accusing the RUC of waging a dirty tricks campaign against him.

Garry Mitchel, from Stewartstown, who has been threatened by the RUC and hoods in the past year, believes that the bullet which was posted to his house in a matchbox is connected to these threats.

Last year, Mitchel was arrested by the RUC and accused of burning a car after residents of the Tyrone village staged protests at the homes of drugs dealers. The charges were, however, withdrawn due to lack of evidence.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy raised a number of questions and asked how the package, which was incorrectly addressed, was able to get through the post undetected.

``Mr Mitchel is a community worker and fears that the RUC have targeted him by wrongly arresting him last year,'' said Molloy. ``This latest threat has left him on edge and worried about his safety.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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