1 May 2003 Edition

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Teenage Catholic attacked

A 13-year-old Catholic schoolboy was attacked by members of the UDA's youth wing, the Ulster Young Militants, in Antrim Town on Tuesday 22 April.

The boy was with a group of other children, both Catholic and Protestant, when he was singled out.

According to information An Phoblacht has received, the loyalists were driving around the Towns Park South area of Antrim in a two-car convoy before approaching the group of children and questioning them about their religion and where they lived.

The Catholic schoolboy, from the Rathenraw estate in the town, was then singled out and assaulted by the loyalist gang, who also warned the children that "no taigs from the Rathenraw" would be allowed out of the estate.

The gang also made derogatory comments about the killing of local teenager Ciaran Cummings, who was shot dead by a unionist gun gang in July 2001.

Sinn Féin councillor Martin McManus told An Phoblacht that attacks against nationalists have intensified over the past few weeks. He called on all political leaders in South Antrim to end their policy of silence concerning the daily attacks on nationalists in the area.

Loyalist thugs attack youth club

A 12-year-old Catholic boy was seriously assaulted when a gang of loyalist teenagers went on the rampage outside a cross-community youth centre in Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast on Thursday night, 24 April.

The youngster received cuts and bruising to his face and body after he was attacked by loyalist youths aged between 16 and 18 while walking home along with his Protestant friend from the Stevenson Community Centre.

The boy's father described how his son was punched and kicked repeatedly to the ground before a local man intervened.

"This is just another sectarian attack. His Protestant friend wasn't touched but my son was targeted because he is a Catholic," said the father.

The situation escalated when minutes later the gang returned with reinforcements. They surrounded the youth club, trapping all those inside. A youth leader told how she had to lock the front door to keep out the thugs.

"It is a miracle no one else was hurt", continued the father. "This club is supposed to be a safe and fun place for children from both communities, but now my son is to scared to go back."

Escape from death drivers

A 20-year-old Poleglass man whose car was rammed by death drivers was saved by onlookers as the car thieves jumped from the stolen car and tried to assault him as he lay injured in his battered car.

Martin Hamill had been driving along the Pembroke Loop Road in Poleglass on Thursday night, 24 April, when two death drivers in a stolen car smashed into his vehicle.

Hamill sustained injuries to his back and side of his body as the impact of the crash demolished his Ford Fiesta car.

Martin Hamill's mother expressed her anger at the delay of the PSNI in arriving at the scene as her son was taken to hospital.

Sinn Féin councillor for the area, Michael Ferguson, told An Phoblacht that the two death drivers were well known gangsters from the area.

"After the crash the hoods immediately got out of the stolen car with iron bars and attempted to attack the injured man," he said. "Only the presence of so many people in the area stopped them from carrying out the assault. Why are these two people still on the streets despite the fact that they have a history of aggravated crime and robberies in West Belfast."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1