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12 July 2001 Edition

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Widespread loyalist attacks

Elderly woman dies after loyalist attack

Nationalists from across the North, from Limavady in County Derry to Ballyclare in County Antrim, have been targeted by loyalist bombers.

An elderly woman, forced from her home in Lisburn's Old Warren estate, died of a heart attack just hours after she was told to ``get out or be burned out''.

Geraldine Ewing, a widow, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning 10 July in a relative's home in the Bone area of North Belfast, where she fled after six loyalists entered her home and threatened her family.

The wheelchair bound woman was in her Lisburn home with her two sons and her brother, who is also physically disabled when the loyalists forced their way in. As well as threatening the family the loyalists robbed one of the sons of his benefit money, over £100.

According to Sinn Féin Councillor Margaret McClenaghan, who dealt with the family, ``Mrs Ewing was very distraught as a result of being intimidated out of her home and it is almost certain the stress of this incident provoked a heart attack. This family was forced from their home with nothing and I spoke to the Housing Executive who said they could do nothing except secure the house until after the Twelfth.''

Mrs Ewing's death was the most serious incident in the week since Catholic teenager Ciarán Cummings was shot dead by loyalists in Antrim last Wednesday, 4 July. Since then, almost 20 separate pipe and petrol bombs have been launched against nationalists throughout the North.


St Nicholas's Catholic church in Carrickfergus was attacked by arsonists at 2:30am on Thursday, 5 July. The Chapel at Menorca Place in Carrickfergus was quickly extinguished by the Fire Brigade and suffered only minor damage to the carpet and the blinds. Parish priest Fr Dermott McKay said, ``this is very disappointing for the community here in Carrickfergus as the church has only been opened from Christmas''. The building was later attacked later by paint bombers.


For the second year running, Father Greg Cormican's parochial home in Ballyclare was targeted by petrol bombers. The weekend attack on the priest's home saw three petrol bombs thrown at the house which suffered scorch damage and broken windows. A similar attack occurred just a year ago.


On Thursday, 5 July, Three Catholic families from Armagh received bullets in the post with notes saying ``24 hours'' written on them.


A pipe bomb left on the doorstep of a house in Kilrea, Co Derry, on Monday 9 July was made safe by the British Army. Earlier a similar device was found by a visitor at a house two miles outside the village.


Two pipe bombs exploded in a car outside a GAA club in Armoy, Co Antrim, on Monday, 9 July. The vehicle was left at the club on the Glenshesk Road.

A separate security alert at a GAA club in Ballycastle, also County Antrim, was declared a hoax.


A man was lucky to escape injury on Monday, 9 July, in the Roe Mill Road area of Limavady after a pipe bomb exploded. The man picked up the device, which he found outside a pensioner's house, and threw it on to the grass, where it exploded.


Sinn Féin Assembly member for Mid-Ulster, John Kelly, called on nationalists to be vigilant after devices were found at St Patrick's community hall in Desertmartin and a business premises in Maghera.

A number of GAA grounds had been also checked for devices following a call from the `South Londonderry Protestant Volunteers' claimed responsibility for attacks. Kelly said the SLPV was ``just another flag of convenience for the UDA''.


Sinn Féin activists foiled an attack on St Luke's Chapel in Twinbrook in the early hours of Sunday morning, 8 July. Two men were spotted with a hold-all approaching the chapel and were challenged. The men made off towards Dunmurry in a Volkswagon Golf, driven by a third person.

Three homes in West Belfast, including that of SDLP Councillor Margaret Walsh, were paint bombed just before midnight on Monday 9 July. The living room window of each of the houses on Barrack Street were smashed, as was the rear windscreen of Mrs Walsh's car. Last August, loyalists targeted the same three houses.

Ardoyne Sinn Féin Councillor Margaret McClenaghan has urged nationalists to be vigilant after a number of taxi drivers were warned that their lives were under threat from loyalists. Speaking on Wednesday, McClenaghan said ``there was an attack last night on a taxi driver from the area after he took a fare to Lisburn''.


A Sinn Féin councillor attempting to paint out sectarian graffiti in a Belfast suburb was confronted by loyalist youths, one wielding a hammer, at the weekend.

Newly elected Breige Meehan said she received numerous calls from residents in the mainly nationalist Farmley area in Glengormley after graffiti reading, ``WE BURNT THE CHAPEL'' was daubed on the wall.

Residents said they were ``disgusted `` by the graffiti mocking a recent arson attack on the nearby St. Bernard's church, which was gutted last month. As Meehan tried to remove the graffiti on Monday, loyalist youths told her to get out of the area, which they claimed belonged to them.

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