15 July 2004 Edition

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North Antrim Catholic family targeted

A Catholic family escaped serious injury in a sectarian attack after a gang of armed unionist paramilitaries broke into and searched their Loughguile home near Ballymoney, County Antrim at around 2am on Tuesday 13 July.

The six-strong gang, armed with shotguns and baseball bats, forced their way through the front door of the Corkey Road home. While some gang members searched rooms downstairs, others ran upstairs looking for a young man, who, luckily, was not in the house.

As the gang left the house they broke a number of windows and fired a shot into the family car.

The Catholic mother and her two sons, who were in the house at the time, were terrified, according to Sinn Féin assembly member Philip McGuigan, who confirmed that the attack was an attempt to kill a Catholic.

"This family have borne the brunt of unionist sectarianism over the past few months and this latest attack is just the latest in a campaign of unionist paramilitary activity in North Antrim over recent months," he said.

"This was a deliberate attempt to kill a member of this household but thankfully the man was not at home. A number of weeks ago, the young man was driving through Ballymena when he was blocked in by two cars driven by well-known loyalists, who pointed a shotgun at him before driving off. The man reported it to the PSNI, who refused to do anything about it, and now this happens."

McGuigan called on nationalists to be very vigilant in the coming weeks.

An Phoblacht has learned that a caller to a Belfast newsroom claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying it was carried out by the 'Real UDA'. Dismissing the claim, Philip McGuigan reiterated Sinn Féin's view that a mainstream loyalist grouping was involved in the attack.

Meanwhile, in Newry the home of a Catholic family had paint thrown at their home and car in a sectarian attack in the mixed Granite View estate in the early hours of Saturday 10 July.


An Phoblacht
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