2 December 2004 Edition

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News in Brief

Polish workers attacked in Coleraine

Three Polish workers were subjected to a violent racist attack in Coleraine, County Derry on Thursday 25 November.

The men, who work in a local meat plant, were verbally abused by a gang before they were set upon in the Anderson Park area.

One man received stitches to an ear wound while the other two were treated for head injuries, and they were robbed of a mobile phone, a bank card and a watch.

Meanwhile, a motion put forward by Sinn Féin's Paul Butler calling for an end to racist attacks in Lisburn has received the unanimous backing of the council.

Proposed by Butler and seconded by Ulster Unionist Billy Bell, the motion was passed with the support of all parties on Tuesday 23 November.

Threatening package sent to councillor

A package containing white powder addressed to Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Butler was intercepted by a post office worker last week.

Butler said loyalists were behind the incident and vowed not to be intimidated.

"In the week since the UDA ceasefire announcement and the recognition of this by the British Secretary of State there has been an attack on Larne SDLP representative Danny O'Connor which was linked to the UDA and now this incident. Given these events, the scepticism articulated by Sinn Féin is well founded," he said.

Home of disabled man attacked again

A disabled nationalist, Maurice Magee, whose Downshire Parade home in East Belfast home has been repeatedly attacked by unionist thugs, says he could have been burnt to death after the latest attack on Wednesday 24 November.

He says a rubbish bin was set alight at the only exit door he has from the flat.

Magee, who is waiting to be rehoused, says he could have been burnt to death had he been sleeping.

Last month, a mattress was placed against the front door of his flat and set on fire. Windows have been broken and sectarian graffiti daubed on his property in an eleven-year campaign of sectarian intimidation.

Harbinson named over Stoneyford sectarianism

As the latest nationalist family to be driven out of their Stoneyford home resettles in West Belfast, Sinn Féin has pointed the finger at loyalist thug Mark Harbinson, accusing him of orchestrating a campaign of anti-Catholic violence in the County Antrim village.

The couple, who want to remain anonymous, say they were forced to leave their home after the PSNI warned them they were being targeted by loyalists. They have since moved back to West Belfast.

Public meeting on prison conditions

Interested parties are invited to a public meeting on Saturday 4 December in the Felons club in Belfast between 1pm and 3pm.

On the agenda will be: conditions within jails (human right issues); conditions for family members while visiting; the four accused of the Bobby Tohill incident; the IMC report on the above; women prisoners in Hydebank.

Councillor Paul Maskey has urged people to come along and hear from family members of prisoners regarding the conditions within jails, which, he says, are completely unacceptable. "The prison system has regressed to the type of draconian standards employed against republican prisoners pre-Hunger Strike," he says.

"We need a campaign set up to call for the politically motivated charges against four men for the alleged abduction of Bobby Tohill to be dropped immediately. The four accused continue to have charges against them despite the fact the so-called victim stated that no incident took place and he himself has even has sat with friends and family of the four men in the public gallery of the court. It is clear that this is a politically motivated case, pushed by the PSNI in order to back up the IMC'S report and create a smokescreen for collapsing the institutions at the behest of unionists. The IMC has no credibility and is outside the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

"Women prisoners have been sent to Hydebank young offenders' centre, where they have been subjected to strip searches and also to abuse from male prisoners within the centre, which is clearly no place for women prisoners."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1