20 September 2001 Edition
UDA attempt to kill taxi driver
Sinn Féin North Belfast councillor Danny Lavery says the UDA tried to kill a Catholic taxi driver in the area on Saturday.
The attack, carried out at 6am on Saturday morning, 15 September, occurred when two armed men opened fire on the driver as he waited for a fare at Parkmount Terrace.
The pair had hid in bushes at the side of a house before launching their attack.
Although the car was hit several times, the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, wasn't injured and managed to drive off.
Danny Lavery says the call that brought the driver to the street in the loyalist Shore Road area was bogus.
An RUC patrol, which was in the area at the time, chased the gun gang but failed to catch them.
SF man escapes Ballycastle bomb
A bomb found under the car of a Sinn Féin worker in Ballycastle, North Antrim, on Wednesday 19 September, ``was placed there in an attempt to kill a Sinn Féin activist'', said party councillor for Dunloy, Philip McGuigan.
McGuigan said the man discovered the device under his car, which was parked outside his Stroneshesk Road home, at 11.10am on Wednesday morning.
``This is the third time the man has been targeted by loyalists,'' added McGuigan. ``In the first attack he was shot at in his car and on another occasion his home was bombed. Due to the previous attacks, the man checks his car in the morning and this could have saved his life this morning. This is the second time in recent weeks that Ballycastle has been targeted and I would call on all nationalists to be vigilant.''
School bus attacked
A school bus carrying second-level pupils from St.Coleman's in Ballynahinch was attacked by a loyalist mob as it travelled along the Ormeau Road in South Belfast last Wednesday, 12 September. The attackers threw stones and bricks, breaking windows on the bus and injuring a number of children.
Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey criticised the RUC's reaction: ``Despite the close proximity of Ballynafeigh RUC barracks, it took the RUC 45 minutes to appear at the scene,'' he said. ``When they arrived they failed to take any action, despite the fact that those responsible were still in the area. Indeed, the loyalist attackers, in full view of the RUC, proceeded to assault a disabled Catholic woman.
``It is important to note that while most of the media attention has been focused on the Holy Cross blockade, there are many other attacks going on against Catholic schoolchildren throughout Belfast. These attacks, like the blockade, are not based upon any grievances, either perceived or real, but upon raw sectarianism.''
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Gerard Brophy has slammed comments by Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers, who accused the IRA of orchestrating bus attacks on Protestant schoolchildren. Rodgers made his comments last week, claiming that a bus had been attacked in the ``Cliftonville area''. Brophy responded saying: ``Here we have Belfast's first citizen giving credence to fabricated attacks in an effort to take attention away from the very real problem going on at Holy Cross.''
A spokesperson for bus company Translink said they had no record of any such attack but said a window was smashed on the bus in question by pupils.
Duncairn residents threatened
Four nationalist families in the Duncairn Gardens area of North Belfast, who received hand written threats to their homes, say they are taking the warnings seriously. The hand-delivered threats, including one sent to Tony McAllister, the spokesperson for the Duncairn Residents' Association, were delivered to homes on Monday 10 September. Written on sympathy cards and signed by the Red Hand Defenders, they read: ``For you and your family. You will die. Get out now. RHD T. Bay.''
McAllister said the actions of the RUC in recent weeks were doing very little to ease sectarian tension in the area. ``The RUC has refused to close the security gates at 6.30pm as agreed between politicians and community workers six weeks ago. Every night we have to ring the RUC to get them to close the gates, but sometimes they aren't closed until 8pm. This sends out a message to rioters in Tiger's Bay that the attacks are not being taken seriously.''
Residents staged a protest on Thursday, 13 September, to highlight the lack of security on their homes.