[Sinn Fein]

4 September 2001

Loyalist attacks designed to provoke IRA

Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness has accused Unionist politicians of creating the conditions and encouraging loyalist murder gangs in their campaign of intimidation against the nationalist and republican community.

Mr McGuinness said:

``These attacks and threats are designed to provoke the IRA into retaliation. It is no coincidence that the upsurge in loyalist attacks and threats directed at republicans and nationalists has coincided with David Trimble's agenda to collapse the political institutions as spelt out in his letter to the Ulster Unionist Council last October. Both are designed to put the republican peace strategy under pressure. They will not succeed.

``We thought that loyalists had stooped as low as they could during the blockade of Harryville Church but the political vacuum created by David Trimble in undermining of the institutions and the British governments' failure to check his actions has encouraged them to sink to even lower depths.

``Their cowardly sectarian campaign has now spread to targeting young children, firstly in preventing pupils from going unhindered to school at Holy Cross in Ardoyne and now underage GAA members in South Derry wishing to participate in sporting activities.

``The UDA using another of its flags of convenience - the so-called SLPV - has forced one business in South Derry engaged in transporting children to GAA activities to close. Other businesses have similarly been threatened without a whimper of censure from Unionist politicians.

``While I would encourage everyone to be vigilant and to take precautions against such threats and attacks it is imperative that communities do not allow themselves to become paralysed by paranoia. I would ask the many decent protestant and unionist people who live in these areas to show solidarity and support for their nationalist and republican neighbours by letting it be known that there is no support for this activity.

``I call on unionist political and civic leaders to publicly call for a halt to these sectarian attacks on the nationalist and republican people and particularly for the targeting of children to cease immediately.

``The two governments but especially the British government must make it abundantly clear to Unionist politicians and to the loyalist militias that their activities whether it be political intransigence or violent attacks will not succeed in stopping the change that is required and accepted in the Good Friday Agreement. Nothing short of full equality for all can be acceptable to anyone who claims to adhere to democratic principles.

``Nationalists and republicans are no longer willing to accept second class citizenship, halfway house politics or half measure solutions.''

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