19 April 2001 Edition

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Election worker fears for his life

Sinn Féin election worker Sean Caughey believes his life is in danger from loyalists after one of his party's election leaflet was posted to his house on Good Friday last addressed to Sean Caughey Sinn Féin/IRA.

The election leaflet, which had been delivered to houses in the South Antrim constituency, also had 'blood soaked scum' and 'murderers' scribbled across it.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Caughey, who is married with two children aged 6 and 7 said: ``There is no doubt that my house has been targeted because of the way this letter was addressed. I'm sure the sender would have realised that too, especially as the letter would have come through Rathcoole Sorting Office, which has a mainly loyalist workforce.

``This incident has really worried my wife, especially the fact that it was addressed the way it was with Sinn Féin\IRA on it. But they won't intimidate us, I can tell you that now.''

Just days before Caughey received the letter, another Sinn Féin election worker living in the predominantly loyalist Carrickfergus borough area had a bullet pushed through his letter box. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, received the bullet last Monday, 9 April. He said that the bullet was ``a clear threat'' and an attempt to intimidate himself and Sinn Féin. ``We have just begun our election campaign and I see this incident as a loyalist response to our campaign,'' he said.

Other loyalist activity

Loyalists tore down Tricolours in Larne's Seacourt estate in the early hours of Tuesday morning, 17 April, as part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation against nationalists. Just hours afterwards, the loyalist Apprentice Boys paraded through the County Antrim town.

Meanwhile Martin Meehan, who is standing for Sinn Féin in the South Antrim election, was at the centre of a security alert last week.

An unstamped parcel addressed to Meehan was discovered at the main Royal Mail sorting office at Mallusk, forcing management to evacuate the building.

Although the parcel turned out to be harmless, Meehan has criticised the Post Office for failing to tell of the alert.

``I knew nothing of this incident until two days after the parcel was examined in the sorting office and over 100 people were evacuated,'' he said. ``It is a very serious lapse on their part.''

Meehan and his sons have been targeted by loyalists on at least four occasions this year. Shots were fired into the homes of Martin Óg Meehan and Kevin Meehan, while a pistol found in a house near Meehan's own home was believed to have been dropped by loyalists during an aborted attack.

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1