27 February 1997 Edition

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Coleraine attack was sectarian

By Mick Naughton.

``I am a Catholic living in a Protestant estate and that is the only reason I was singled out. It's just sickening to think that someone would want to harm a pregnant woman and her child because of their religion.'' These words, spoken the morning after eight months pregnant Karen McVicker was burnt out of her Coleraine home, contradicted an RUC statement that the attack was not sectarian.

An Phoblacht can reveal that one of McVicker's neighbours is a well known loyalist leader.

Ms McVicker was asleep in her Hawthorne Place home at midnight on 19 February when her loyalist attackers struck using two petrol bombs. Extensive damage was caused to the living room forcing the young Catholic mother to seek shelter with relatives in nearby Kilrea, vowing she would never return.

``I didn't think that religion was such a big issue in the estate and this is what makes the attack more shocking. There is no way I can go back to that house again,'' she said

Last Thursday's attack follows years of similar sectarian incidents in that area. Petrol bombings of Catholic homes is nothing new or uncommon, but they are rarely classified as such by the RUC, Unionist councillors and the local Unionist press.

Next week
Mick Naughton reports on the unreported history of sectarianism and far right politics in Coleraine

An Phoblacht
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