4 June 1998 Edition

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Whitewell onslaught continues

By Sean O'Tuama

Last weekend Nationalists were again under sustained attack in the Whitewell area of North Belfast when a mob of 50 loyalists tore down an iron fence in an attempt to attack Catholic homes. A second fence prevented them running amok through the estate, but several homes were damaged by bricks and rocks.

``The stupid thing about it is,'' said local resident Stephen Carmichael whose home was attacked, ``that both Catholics and Protestants are living in this estate. These idiots don't know whose house they are attacking, they just knew that some of the houses belonged to Catholics and that was reason enough - it's sheer hatred.''

More than fifty Nationalist families have been driven from their homes in the last three years. Community worker Paul McKernan believes that there is an orchestrated campaign by loyalists to intimidate Catholics from the area.

``Over the last number of years three separate grocery shops, a Chinese takeaway and an Ace Scheme have been forced out due to intimidation.'' said Mr McKernan. ``This is not some fanciful theory of mine, it's fact, the shuttered shops tell the stories for themselves.''

Danny Lavery, a North Belfast SF councillor said, ``This is a serious issue which must be highlighted and sorted out. I am willing to meet anyone from the Protestant community to sit down and work out a solution to this problem.''

An Phoblacht
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