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5 October 2000 Edition

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Loyalist bombers shatter early morning calm

By Catherine O'Hagan and Peadar Whelan.

``It was definitely the UDA. I'm gutted and disgusted about how a human being could do that to another fellow''.

     
A pub in Larne, frequented by loyalists displayed a sign saying ``no dogs or Taigs''.
These were the words of Larne man John Shaw, in the aftermath of a bomb attack that was meant to kill him, but seriously injured his companion Tommy Baxter on Sunday morning, 1 October.

Shaw and two friends had gone to dig fishing bait on the shore of Belfast Lough, near Magheramourne at about 8.30am on Sunday, when the attack occurred. The wounded man was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where he underwent emergency surgery for serious leg injuries. Shaw and the third, un-named man, were treated for shock.

Shaw, who had been on this stretch of shoreline the previous day, believes his movements were being monitored. Loyalists planted their device at a pathway, worn out of the rough grass, that runs from the roadway to the railway line, along the picturesque lough shore.

The loyalists booby trap bomb was detonated when Baxter, himself a Protestant, walked through the trip wire.

37-year-old Shaw has been targeted by loyalist bombers before. In 1997 a device exploded under his van, in which he was carrying his partner and young daughter, in Larne town. Luckily none of the three were badly injured.

John Shaw's uncle Bertie, was himself shot dead by the UDA in 1993, ironically as he dug for bait at the lough shore near Belfast.

Shaw's family including his cousin Bertie Shaw junior, the son of UDA victim Bertie senior, have been on the receiving end of loyalist attacks over the years.

Over the years, nationalists in places like Larne have experienced a low-key sectarian campaign, whereby loyalists used intimidation to `keep the Taigs' in their place.

A pub in Larne, frequented by loyalists, displayed a sign saying ``no dogs or Taigs''. The message was clear enough for those who lived there.
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