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13 October 2000 Edition

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RUC add insult to injury

A 15-year-old nationalist girl from Ballynahinch was subjected to a torrent of sectarian abuse from loyalists, while the RUC looked on and did nothing, and then received an RUC caution for her troubles.

The incident began at about 11.30pm on Friday night, 29 September, as the girl and two companions left a fast food restaurant in Ballynahinch's Windmill Street. They were subjected to a torrent of sectarian and foul sexual abuse from a gang of loyalist bandsmen.

According to local Sinn Féin representative Francie Branniff, ``members of some local `kick the pope' bands had returned to Ballynahinch from a march and were indulging in their usual cultural activities of drinking and abusing nationalists when they spotted the three young girls and picked on them.

``While this was going on an RUC patrol car was parked nearby yet those inside refused to intervene.

``One of the girls shouted a remark back at the loyalists and that was the height of their response, yet the next day the RUC arrived at the girl's door and cautioned her, in front of her parents, for a public order offence,'' said Branniff. ``These girls were frightened and intimidated by this gang yet the RUC did nothing. Only three weeks ago, a man from the town almost lost his life in a similar incident involving loyalist bandsmen. They attacked and stabbed him with a meat cleaver. Despite this, the RUC refused to protect these girls.''

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An Phoblacht
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