Collusion suspected in gun attacks
Between eight and 10 houses belonging to republicans in west
Belfast were targeted in gun attacks on Friday evening in the
Finagy, Riverdale and Lenadoon areas.
The homes of Sinn Fein councillor Paul Butler and assembly
member Gerry Kelly, the party's spokesman on policing, were
among those targeted.
Loyalist (unionist) paramilitaries were blamed for the
attacks, involving either ball-bearing or regular gunfire. But
there were some suspicions that those involved had received
information from British forces.
It was also noted that many of the attacks had been carried
out just yards from PSNI police bases.
Last night Mr Butler, whose partner and two children were in
their Lenadoon home at the time of the attack, said he had no
doubt loyalists were involved.
"The houses that were attacked, mine, Gerry Kelly and other
houses were leading republicans in Belfast. Clearly loyalists
are behind it," he said.
"The question I'm asking is where are they getting this
information on where we live?"
His house has been targeted a number of times over the last
"I'll obviously be more vigilant and taking additional
security measures," Mr Butler said.
"This is the third attack on my house. What are the police
doing about all this?"
Asked if dissident republicans could have been behind Friday's
spate of incidents, he said: "Why would they want to target
out houses, there is nothing in it for them.
"At the minute there is a political vacuum, that vacuum is
being filled by these people (loyalists).
"No-one was injured this time but these things escalate. We
need to get the institutions up and running so we can isolate
these people," he added.
* Unionist paramilitaries also carried out a vicious
sledgehammer attack in which a man suffered two broken legs
and head injuries yesterday. Up to six masked men burst into
the 44-year-old victim's in Bangor, County Down before beating
him, leaving him seriously injured.
Two men were arrested in connection with the assault,
understood to be part of a paramilitary feud over drugs.