3 April 1997 Edition

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Hostel attacked by sectarian mobs

RESIDENTS OF A HOMELESS HOSTEL on the peaceline between the Falls and Shankill Roads have accused the RUC of doing nothing to protect them during a night of sustained sectarian attack on Tuesday 1 April 1997.

Fourteen families, numbering up to 50 people including children, live in the Ashmore Hostel and residents told An Phoblacht that early in the evening a gang of teenagers gathered at the Shankill Road side of the hostel at Conway Street and stoned the building.

``The RUC were called,'' said one resident, ``but when they arrived they just drove about for a while then left''. That was at about 7.15pm.

The gang gathered again when the RUC left and this time, according to our source, launched a heavy attack on the building. ``The residents got really nervous and phoned the RUC again. The RUC asked, `what are we supposed to do?' we can't find any of them''.

Again when the RUC arrived the gang scattered, but came back when the RUC left, leaving residents to complain that they are not getting any protection from the RUC.

``This is the usual pattern during the loyalist marching season. They have tried to get over the barbed wire fence that protects the hostel and the caretakers have had to put bars on the door''.

Sinn Féin's Lower Falls councillor Fra McCann has called on the hostel's owners, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, to ensure the safety of the residents from what he called ``blatantly sectarian attacks''.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1