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4 September 2003 Edition

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Scandal of North Belfast attacks

As we go to print, another family in an interface area of Belfast are packing their bags to leave their home, under threat from the UDA.

The family, who have endured numerous sectarian attacks on their home, most recently last weekend, were on Wednesday given six hours to get out of their Deerpark Road home in North Belfast by UDA thugs. Their experience of living under siege and the UDA's record of killing Catholics living in vulnerable areas left them under no illusions as to the seriousness of the threat.

This comes days after the UDA put a pipe bomb on the gates of the nearby Holy Cross girls' school to mark the first day of term. No child should have to experience this kid of fear, let alone a youngster taking that fateful first step into 'big' school.

The Deerpark area, close to the loyalist Glenbryn Estate, is the latest focus for the sectarian hatemongers (See report on Page 2). This latest forced eviction brings to three the number of families that have been forced to leave the area in the past week alone, because of attacks and intimidation.

On Wednesday alone, apart from the eviction threat, the windows were smashed in on a house on the Deerpark Road and a 20-strong gang of men, armed with petrol bombs, were spotted emerging from and then retreating back into loyalist Glenbryn.

Tensions are high there this evening. Local peope remember well that 30 years ago, unionist paramilitaries tried to burn people out their homes in exactly the same area.

Everyone knows these attacks are being orchestrated by the UDA, but despite their concerted attack on a community, unionist political leaders and community leaders have been silent.

Likewise, the revisionist liberals in the Southern media are conspicuous by their absence when it comes to getting concerned about nationalists living in fear. It doesn't fit well with the agenda, you see.

There is a responsibility on unionist politicians and community leaders to end the campaign of intimidation and attack being orchestrated by unionist paramilitaries against people living in interface areas.

Leaving aside the unwillingness, or inability, of the PSNI to make any inroads into tackling the sectarian onslaught, there is a wider responsibility on all people and groups with influence to ensure that these communities are not left to suffer alone.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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