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12 April 2001 Edition

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Savagely beaten by the RUC

A man severely beaten by the RUC in Ballymena in the early hours of Sunday morning, 8 April has accusing the RUC of unprovoked brutality against nationalists.

Paddy Dunlop (35), who suffered severe bruising from head to foot, told An Phoblacht that the RUC version of events ``is wrong and out of order''.

Dunlop says the trouble started when the RUC, who had been about the William Street area all day, beat him after he intervened when an RUC woman assaulted a pregnant woman. He was attacked from behind and savagely beaten as he lay handcuffed on the ground and unable to protect or defend himself.

William Street is the nationalist part of the mainly loyalist town of Ballymena and that people had gone to pubs there to watch the Celtic match.

``Everything was good natured,'' stressed Dunlop, ``but the RUC arrived in cars and on foot and milled about for the rest of the day''. It was after closing that the main trouble erupted. Dunlop said he and two friends left The Inn pub and that one of his friends then tried to tape a Tricolour to a traffic bollard, contradicting the RUC who said people were trying to put the flag on a lamp post.

``There was a bit of banter between us and the peelers and they were giving as much as they got. The next thing we knew the DMSU arrived,'' said Dunlop.

He also said that until the DMSU arrived there were only about 10 people on the street and about 14 RUC. It was at this point that Dunlop witnessed a scuffle between the pregnant woman and an RUC woman and moved to separate them. His friends told him afterwards that five DMSU members laid into him with batons and he went down immediately. ``I was unconscious and don't know what happened, but my mates said the RUC handcuffed and beat me. One of them stood on my head''.

Dunlop was thrown into an RUC van and brought to Ballymena RUC barracks, where he was left lying on the floor for four hours before he received any medical attention.

The doctor who saw Dunlop ordered that the RUC release him to hospital. The injured man had four staples put in a head wound and was treated for severe bruising to his face, arms, upper body and legs. He has to wait until the swelling in his arm goes down to be X-rayed.

It was only after the RUC attacked Dunlop and people went to his aid that the fight between the RUC and the nationalists erupted.

Meanwhile, police' Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is to investigate at least five complaints of assault against the RUC over the weekend's events. In a statement, Sinn Fein Assembly member John Kelly said he was ``disturbed by the RUC's actions. I heard an RUC commander saying the incident brought shame on Ballymena but I didn't hear anyone speaking out when nationalist families were being targeted by pipe bombers''.


Loyalist mob slash Ballynahinch youth



Ballynahinch youth Stevie Clarke was lucky to escape with his life after a 15-strong loyalist mob attacked him and two friends in the early hours of Sunday morning. Clarke was slashed in the face by a loyalist using a broken bottle, and as he fell to the ground others in the mob kicked him about the head.

Sinn Fein representative Francie Braniff says the youths, who had been out celebrating Celtic winning the Scottish league championship, were on their way home when they were attacked. ``Stevie was slashed across the face with a broken bottle and kicked about the head and body as he lay on the ground. For all the loyalists knew Stevie was dead when they ran off. He has spent three days in hospital under observation because of severe swelling to his head.''

Meanwhile, two Catholic taxi drivers escaped injury when loyalists attacked them in the Langley Road area of the town. Although both taxis were damaged, neither man was hurt.

Sinn Fein met with representatives of the Dublin government earlier in the year to inform them of the ongoing campaign of loyalist violence in Ballynahinch. ``I have been in touch with the Dublin government to update them about these latest incidents,'' said Braniff.

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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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