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31 May 2001 Edition

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Young family attacked by loyalists

A young couple and their two-week-old baby and a family of six are the latest to be targeted in sectarian attacks in the Loughside Drive area of Ballynahinch.

A family of six were targeted by loyalists this week in the latest of a string of attacks on homes in the Loughside Drive area of Ballynahinch.

At around 2.30am on Monday morning, the family awoke to the sound of two loud bangs as their car, which had been set alight with petrol, exploded.

The other couple were awakened in the early hours of Friday morning, 18 May, by a loud explosion, which they were later to discover was the engine of their new car exploding. The couple had previously received a threat from loyalists in the town telling the family to ``Get out or get burned out.''

The family see the arson attack on their car as a loyalist attempt to scare them out of their home.

Sinn Féin opens new office in South Belfast

Sinn Féin candidate for Castlereagh Sean Hayes has told loyalists living in the Castlereagh area that they may get used to the idea of Sinn Féin being there as the party expects to do well in next month's local government election.

Hayes was speaking to An Phoblacht at the opening of the party's new constituency office on the Lower Ormeau Road on Tuesday 29 May.

The previous night Monday 28 party activists canvassed the Castlereagh area.

``We will bring the equality agenda into Castlereagh and we will make sure the DUP controlled council hears the voice of nationalism in its next term,'' said Hayes.



Bombay Street school petrol bombed

In the latest attack on Bombay Street, loyalists threw at least one petrol bomb into the school yard of St Gall's primary school.

The attack on Wednesday, 23 May, came at the end of two weeks in which tension in the area was high due to the continued loyalist onslaught on the area.

In the worst incident, a hostel for homeless people, mostly women and their children was set alight by a loyalist mob last Monday 21 May.

And it has transpired that the RUC who were accused of doing little to protect the residents of the hostel were said to be having a tea break while the mob carried out it's attack.

John McGivern and Frances McAuley of the Springfield Residents Action Group who accompanied the US students explained that with tension running high members of their group were on the ground on a nightly basis trying to defuse tensions.

``Every night over the past week or ten days loyalist gangs had been gathering on the waste ground on their side of the wall. Older men were coordinating the attacks and were digging up the rubble on the waste ground for the younger ones to throw. And as usual while they were doing that unhindered the RUC were constantly patrolling the nationalist side of the wall'', said McAuley.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin councillor Fra McCann has described Housing Executive plans to keep using the hostel as ``absolute madness''.

McCann accused the NIO of leaving those vulnerable families who are placed in the hostel open to attack: ``Last year, the NIO gave me assurances that security facilities at the hostel would be tightened. They have done nothing and their inaction could have left numerous people dead as a result of last Monday's attack.''



An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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