Flash: Series of gun attacks at republican homes
It has emerged that as many as eight separate houses belonging
to republicans were attacked with gunfire last night by a
loyalist gang in West Belfast. These homes included those of
Sinn Fein Representatives Gerry Kelly and Paul Butler.
The attacks followed accusations that information on PSNI
members maintained at the offices of the Police Fund in
Marymount, County Down, had been passed to republicans. It was
not clear if the incidents were related.
Two men were arrested yesterday in connection with
improprieties at the office, including alleged
misappropriation of funds. One was later released.
North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly this afternoon
visited the Butler home in Lenadoon. Speaking from there, Mr.
Kelly described the attacks as an "extensive operation".
He pointed out that a number of the shootings took place
within sight of PSNI police bases. "Despite this the shooting
attacks were allowed to continue unhindered," he said.
"These sorts of incidents are a throw-back to the days of very
obvious collusion when loyalist gangs were allowed to pass
freely in and out of republican heartlands safe in the
knowledge that they would not be apprehended."
Mr Kelly said he was in no doubt that the details of the homes
attacked last night were passed to this loyalist gang directly
from the PSNI Special Branch.
"What other explanation can be given for co-ordinated nature
of the attacks and the fact that the PSNI at no time attempted
to intervene to arrest those responsible."
SAVED BY GLASS - NOT POLICE
Councillor Butler's home, which is within sight of Woodbourne
PSNI Barracks, was hit by at least three shots late last
The Lagan Valley Councillor said that he is in no doubt that
last night's attack on his home was a murder bid.said the
attack was a murder bid "not just on me, but on my partner and
"I was not at home at the time but a young child was in the
living room when the shots hit the window. Thankfully the
security glass prevented the shots entering the house.
It was the second attack on his home in recent months -- the
last time an incendiary device was thrown at the front of the
Mr Butler pointed out that the attack took place directly
under cameras on Woodbourne PSNI Barracks.
"After the last attack the PSNI claimed that they had turned
the cameras off. I suspect that I will hear the same response
this time as well."
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he was relieved that
nobody was injured in last nights gun attacks. But he
stressed that those within the political leadership of
unionism who refuse to talk to his party must now reflect upon
their position and the message they are sending to the
unionist paramilitaries in the wake of the attacks.
"The DUP who are now in the political leadership of unionism
and who are refusing to engage with our party have to reflect
upon the message they are sending to the violent wing of
unionism," he said.
"If unionist political leaders constantly send out a message
that they will not engage with Sinn Fein or respect the
mandate of that party, or exclude representatives like Paul
Butler from civic positions, then they have to expect that
those within the paramilitary section of unionism will respond
in the manner we witnessed last night.
"I would urge those within the DUP leadership to review their
position in the wake of last nights attack and reflect
seriously on the effect that the position which they have
adopted is having on the unionist paramilitaries."
He said Sinn Fein remain committed to dialogue with its
political opponents and respected and recognised the mandates
of all of the other parties.
"Such an inclusive approach is the only realistic option for
the DUP to adopt if the peace process is to be bedded down and
inclusive political institutions are to be re-established."