12 September 2002 Edition

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No Catholics need apply at Antrim KFC

Antrim Sinn Féin councillor Martin Meehan has told An Phoblacht that Catholics working in a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food outlet at Fountain Hill in Antrim Town who have been subjected to loyalist threats are being offered relocation or a pay-off deal.

"Local Catholic workers at KFC have been the constant target of a loyalist hate campaign that has accelerated most notably from the end of June, when loyalists named employees in death threats which were painted on the outside walls and in the car park of the fast food outlet," said Meehan.

"I am deeply concerned that KFC is taking the easy way out by removing its Catholic workers and therefore penalising them," said Meehan. "By removing the Catholic workers, KFC is also creating - a 'No Catholic need apply' scenario."

Meehan added that the restaurant was paint bombed on numerous occasions and senior staff have had to close the premisies to protect Catholic workers from loyalist attacks.

He has called on trade unions, clergy, the Labour Relations Agency and youth groups to assist Sinn Féin and the KFC workers concerned to ensure that the equality agenda remains paramount in Antrim Town.

Catholic Female Students threatened at Antrim College

A gang of loyalists threatened and jostled three Catholic female students as they walked in the grounds of the Antrim Campus of North East Institute of Further and Higher Education.

The incident occured on Tuesday 3 September in the grounds of the college when the teenage girls were on their break. The gang of up to ten loyalists came from the loyalist Ballycraigy area of Antrim town.

"We were called fenian bastards and jibed about Michael when they kept shouting 'where's hatchet head'", one of the teenagers said. The gang was referring to the critically ill Catholic teenager Michael Craig, struck with a hatchet in the most recent loyalist attack on Friday night 30 August on the Greystone Road.

Despite the threats the students vowed to continue their studies at the College.

One of the girls told An Phoblacht: "Education is too important to our future to be bullied in this way - it's a pity this gang are not being encouraged by their community to take up further education instead of roaming the streets hurting people."

Second rally opposes sectarianism

Over 100 people joined Antrim Sinn Féin councillors Martin McManus and Martin Meehan at a second reclaim the streets protest held outside Antrim Town's main RUC/PSNI barracks last Sunday night, 8 September.

The rally was the second organised by Sinn Féin in Antrim Town in response to the ongoing loyalist pogrom directed against Catholics in the town and which led to the recent hatchet attack on 15-year-old Michael Craig, which has left the youth critically injured.

"Sinn Féin is continually reaching out with a hand of friendship to the entire unionist community and I will do so again here tonight, said Meehan. "Nationalists, republicans and Catholics want to live in our own country in peace, prosperity and harmony with all our neighbours. We want to watch our children grow up in an environment free from fear."

Meehan criticised the Mayor of Antrim and SDLP councillors from the area, who failed to attend the rally. "Sinn Féin publicly notified and indeed requested the presence of the Mayor, Mervyn Rea, and all the local SDLP representatives at this gathering tonight as a show of solidarity with the Antrim families suffering the brunt of loyalist attacks and those 60 families who have been forced to flee their homes," he said. "I cannot account for the Mayor's absence or the SDLP's failure to attend."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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