25 March 1999 Edition
Loyalist murder bid in Castlewellan
by Dan O'Neill
Sinn Féin Down District Councillor, Frank McDowell, has urged nationalists to exercise extreme caution and vigilance following the attempted murder of a nationalist in Castlewellan by Loyalists.
Francie Trainor was injured on Tuesday 22 March after he triggered a booby-trap bomb planted by the Orange Volunteers at his scrap yard.
The businessman, in his fifties, was driving into the yard shortly after 12pm when he saw a piece of of metal lying on the ground near the entrance. Afraid that it might puncture his tyre, it is understood he kicked it out of his way - triggering a hand grenade which rolled out and exploded.
Mr Trainor received cuts and bruises, and was taken to Down hospital for treatment.
The Castlewellan attack is not an isolated incident but the latest in long line of loyalist attacks in South Down on nationalists. In January this year, Loughinisland man, Patsy Shields was injured when a pipe bomb was thrown at his home.
Councillor McDowell condemned this latest attack and accused the RUC of allowing loyalists a free-hand in the area.
``I share the view of Patsy Shields who was recently the target of a similar attack that `the dogs in the street know' who is responsible, yet nothing is done.
``Those responsible are given a free-hand in South Down by the RUC because that institutionally sectarian paramilitary force is not a police service.''
The murder bid has also been condemned as purely sectarian by the local Sinn Féin Assembly member Mick Murphy.
``The fact that these so-called dissident groups continue to use their trademark crude pipe bombs adds further weight to the claims that last week's sophisticated bomb attack which killed Rosemary Nelson could not have been carried out by these amateur groups alone.
``The actions of the so-called Orange Volunteers display a level of experience which suggests that this group is made up of individuals from other loyalist groups'', he concluded.
Bomb alert at McGuinness home
A Sinn Fein spokesperson has confirmed that a threat was received claiming a bomb had been placed at the home of Mid -Ulster MP Martin McGuinness.
The bomb threat had been relayed to the Samaritans in Belfast on Tuesday March 16.
The Sinn Fein Assembly member was not at home, he was attending St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the United States, when the RUC contacted a member of his family and informed them of the threat.
The spokesperson continued, `` after carrying out a cursory search of the area the RUC declared it a hoax. Sinn Fein personnel then carried out a further check of gardens and parked cars. Nothing was found.''