Sectarian attacks mark Twelfth
Arsonists attempted to murder a Catholic family in north Belfast
at the weekend.
Early on Sunday, a unionist mob smashed windows at a house on
the front of the Crumlin Road opposite the Ardoyne shops before
trying to set the premises alight.
A couple sleeping upstairs discovered a blaze in the living room
and used a fire extinguisher and wet tea towels to try to dampen
One person was later treated for the effects of breathing smoke.
Michael Ferguson of Sinn Fein said the attack was "attempted
"This kind of attack is synonymous of the 12th celebrations for
Catholics and nationalists in north Belfast," he said.
"The family who lives here is very lucky to be alive."
The family said it was not the first time the house had been
attacked, but this incident had caused the most damage.
WOMAN FORCED OUT
Meanwhile, a woman has been forced to leave the house where she
was born and has lived for more than 50 years after a series of
sectarian attacks on her home.
Kathleen McCaughey said she was devastated after living in the
mainly Protestant village of Ahoghill, County Antrim, all her
But she said the sectarian picket and threats to burn down the
building where she lived, was the final straw.
I had a lot of good neighbours in Ahoghill and it is only about
six families that have been involved in the intimidation," she
None of the unionist politicians in the area did anything to
stop these familes intimidating me.
Mrs McCaughey said a group of around 12 adults and 10 children
gathered outside her home on Thursday night and the youngsters
entered her garden playing three mini-lambeg drums.
She said they shouted abuse and threw water balloons over the
course of hours of intimidation.
After months of increasing harassment, Mrs McCaughey said she
could take no more and moved her belongings out on Friday. She
said the trauma meant she had to see a doctor.
Paint bombs and fireworks have also been used to force Mrs
McCaughey out of the area.
Philip McGuigan, Sinn Féin MLA for North Antrim, said: The
sectarian abuse against Mrs McCaughey has been allowed to
continue for so long without any unionist intervention. People
that have responsibility in Ahoghill need to take a long look at
the message they are sending out to Catholics in the area, he
Unionists have scrawled anti-Catholic graffiti on the front door
of Harryville Catholic Church in Ballymena.
The words "f*** the Pope" were written on the front door of
church, the subject of a campaign of sectarian violence and
intimidation in recent years. Metal fencing was also painted red
white and blue.
A major 'eleventh night' bonfire was held last night just yards
away from the chapel at the King George V Park.
The Church of Our Lady was the subject of a 20-month long
loyalist picket running from 1996 to 1998. Recently there has
been speculation that some unionists want to re-launch the
The church is forced to cancel its Saturday night Mass during
July and August at the height of the Protestant marching season.
Local Sinn Fein representative Philip McGuigan said loyalists
were demonstrating that "Catholics are unwelcome to attend their
own church" in that part of Ballymena.
"This kind of sectarianism and intimidation is designed to
ensure the Catholics are expected to live as second class
citizens in their own town.
"This sectarianism has been allowed to continue against the
backdrop of silence from the DUP controlled Ballymena Council."
Two PSNI men were injured and one had his gun and radio stolen
when they were attacked by a crowd in east Belfast last night.
The attack happened after a man who was being beaten at the
scene of a loyalist 'Eleventh Night' bonfire, on the eve of the
July 12 marches.
Elsewhere, 30 homes were evacuated after a bonfire ruptured a
gas pipeline in east Belfast