17 December 1998 Edition

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Sectarian tension rises in Larne

Nationalists in the County Antrim town of Larne have told An Phoblacht of their fears of increased sectarianism in the run up to a planned loyalist march in support of Drumcree Orangemen this Friday.

They were speaking after a weekend in which a Catholic family was targeted in the Antiville estate and three others injured by a gang of loyalists who stormed into the town's Railway Bar.

One man said the weekend attack on the Catholic family ``is only the latest in a catalogue of attacks on the man's family since the summer''.

The man's parents, aunt and cousin have all been forced out of Larne since July and the Drumcree standoff.

They are living in Housing Executive homes in Carnlough having been forced to abandon their privately owned homes in Larne.

During the latest attack the family car was wrecked. The man was told two weeks ago to get out of Larne. We have been told the UVF is behind the threat and the attack. The UVF warned a second man over the weekend to leave Larne.

In the attack on the Railway Bar, which is only minutes from the town's RUC barracks a mini-bus carrying about 15 loyalists with clubs went in and assaulted three afternoon drinkers.

They escaped with only minor injuries although they did receive treatment at Antrim Hospital.

``Attacks on Catholics are an ongoing thing but with this march at the weekend people are worried that the loyalists, with their blood up, will go on the rampage. It's very worrying,'' one man said.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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