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12 June 2003 Edition

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Loyalists attack Monaghan GAA supporters

Monaghan GAA supporters travelling home by bus from Belfast were attacked by loyalists at the M1 exit at Portadown on Sunday evening, 7 June. The fans were returning from watching their team's Championship defeat against Down at Casement Park.

One woman had to have hospital treatment to an eye injury she received when she was showered with broken glass after a stone broke a window.

Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, and Upper Bann Assembly member Dara O'Hagan, said unionist paramilitaries were intent on raising tensions in the area in the run up to the loyalist marching season.

"This is just the latest sectarian attack in the constituency of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble against GAA supporters in recent weeks," said O'Hagan. "Armagh supporters were attacked in a similar fashion by loyalists three weeks ago and a Catholic family was forced to move out of the area after they received sectarian threats by loyalists."

They added the so-called new PSNI has made no difference to the hostile situation to Nationalists whether they have to live in Portadown or just travelling through it.

"We call on the leaders of unionism through out the Six Counties to work actively against the kind of sectarianism that placed the lives of Monaghan supporters in danger on Sunday," said Ó Caoláin. "Failure to give proper leadership can only lead to more sectarian attacks."

He has tabled a Dáil Question on the incident to Irish foreign minister Brian Cowen.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called for a Gaelic football match between the PSNI and members of Dáil Éireann to be scrapped.

Ferris said the game should not go ahead in Dublin on Tuesday 17 June for a number of reasons, including collusion.

"The Stevens' report details the level of complicity on the part of the RUC/ PSNI in the killings of nationalists and proves that until there is a proper reform of policing in the Six Counties, they should not be granted any kind of respectability," he said.

North Belfast attacks

Sinn Féin North Belfast councillor Margaret McClenaghan has slammed attacks on both loyalist and nationalist homes in the Ardoyne area

Speaking to An Phoblacht McClenaghan said thugs who broke windows in the Glenbryn area shortly after 11.30pm on Friday 6 June were nothing but anti-social thugs who are terrorising both sets of communities in Ardoyne.

Shortly afterwards, loyalists damaged houses along the Ardoyne road when they attacked them with bricks and bottles.

"The attacks on houses in Glenbryn Park were carried out by thugs who were fuelled by drink and drugs and who have nothing to offer these communities. These are the same ones who spend all day drinking and then start breaking windows in homes along the interface and then go to their homes outside the Ardoyne area," said McClenaghan.

She added that nationalist people's homes were being attacked by loyalists as a result of these anti-social elements.

McClenaghan advocates extending the peace line on Alliance Avenue, similar to the extensions taking place on the Springfield Road in West Belfast and Bryson Street in the Short Strand.

"Community workers have been asking for the peace lines to be extended for a number of years now, but the NIO won't listen," she said. "All it takes is for the wall to be made the same height right along Alliance Avenue to stop stones and bottles from being thrown over the wall and hitting homes."

Newtownabbey Council faces discrimination suit

Sinn Féin's Briege Meehan has welcomed a local resident's decision to take Newtownabbey Council to court over discrimination against the nationalist community in the borough.

The resident is taking court action over the lack of leisure and community facilities in Catholic areas.

Meehan told An Phoblacht that for far too long, Newtownabbey council has been getting away with siting all facilities and amenities in loyalist areas, even though the demographics of the council area are changing.

"All leisure and community centres are sited in loyalist areas, nationalist areas of the borough haven't even got a play park and I think that is a disgrace when you consider the vast nationalist population living and working in the Newtownabbey council area," she said. "This is nothing but the worst kind of discrimination."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1