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30 August 2001 Edition

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Loyalists target Auld Lammas Fair

The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the UDA and LVF, have admitted planting a massive bomb in the heart of Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co Antrim on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of fairgoers and stall-holders were forced to evacuate the area after a large incendiary device was discovered in a car parked in Castle street. The potential for serious injury and loss of life at the height of the traditional town fair was massive.

North Antrim Sinn Féin representative Philip McGuigan has called on the RUC to state whether it believed that loyalists in the area had abandoned their ceasefire.

``Loyalists are intensifying their attacks on nationalists. The pogrom against Catholic people of the area is a very worrying development. It is very sinister attack against the thousands of people attending what was a family day out'' said Mr McGuigan.

Moyle Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney said that the bomb had the potential to result in hundreds of injuries and scores of deaths. ``An estimated 250,000 visitors attended the two day fair, one of the oldest festivals in Ireland and Castle Street is one of the main thoroughfares into the fair,'' she said. ``The potential for serious injury and loss of life at the height of the fair was massive. We have the political instability created by David Trimble's stated aim of creating crisis and getting the political institutions suspended being filled by loyalist violence.

``The Auld Lammas Fair is one of the most important events in the area. Loyalists appear to want to cause maximum chaos and loss of life in a bid to further destabilise the peace process,'' added Digney.
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