24 April 2008 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Traditional sectarian tune in Stoneyford

DENIALS by an ex-DUP Mayor of Lisburn that Catholics in the small village of Stoneyford, near Belfast, have suffered sectarian intimidation have been met with anger.
Former DUP Councillor Cecil Calvert, now a member of Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice, dismissed claims that loyalists with links with the Orange Volunteers have orchestrated a campaign of sectarian violence in Stonyford.
One man who recently moved from the village after a campaign of harassment directed against him and his family accused Calvert of “burying his head in the sand”.
Sean Braniff, whose family was the target of up to 20 attacks and threats, moved back to West Belfast earlier this year after a loyalist gang tried to kidnap his son.
In recent years there has been a steady stream of families moving out of the predominantly loyalist area after they were systematically targeted by a loyalist gang based in the village.
When a BBC film crew from the TV current affairs programme Spotlight attempted to interview Sinn Féin MLA Paul Butler in Stoneyford about the sectarian attacks, they were set upon by a gang of loyalists.
Calvert was at the scene of the confrontation during which one of the loyalists smashed the window of a BBC car.
That incident was the second in two months when Butler was confronted while being interviewed.

The Sinn Féin man, who represents Stoneyford in the Assembly, has since made an official complaint to the PSNI to force them to take action against the loyalists.
Speaking to An Phoblacht, Butler said he made his complaint because the PSNI have refused to take action against the loyalists behind the sectarian attacks.
“There are widespread suspicions that the PSNI are protecting the loyalist ring-leader whom many believe is a Special Branch agent. By making an official complaint against him I hope to force the PSNI to do something to protect Catholics in Stoneyford.”

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1