[Sinn Fein]

8 February 1996

Families under loyalist attack meet Minister Cowen in Dublin

Sinn Fein North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly and families who have suffered from loyalist pipe-bomb attacks and intimidation met the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen TD, at Iveagh House in Dublin today.  After the meeting, Mr Kelly told reporters:

``There is a concerted sectarian campaign across the North to drive Catholic families out of some areas.  They have reached a particular intensity in North Belfast and Larne.  Over several weeks have seen some 50 attacks - mostly carried out by the UDA - and there is no sign of them abating. This is a pogrom, designed to drive Catholics out, heighten tensions and undermine the political and peace process.

``Minister Brian Cowen today heard at first hand the human cost of these attacks - what it is like to live under threat of being killed in these pipe-bomb attacks and the impact of this situation on their familles.

``These families live in constant fear, morning, noon and night, not just for themselves but for their children.  They fear that their children could suffer then same fate as the Quinn children who were killed in a bomb attack on their home during the Drumcree protests.

``It must be remembered that these are Irish citizens under threat and under attack from loyalist death squads created and infiltrated by British Military Intelligence.

``We have asked the Irish Government to use whatever influence they have to help bring an end to these attacks.  We also proposed a number of practical measures in relation to people's safety which we are glad to see the Minister take on board.

``The Minister expressed serious concern about what is happening and he has undertaken to bring it to the top of the agenda in his talks with the British Secretary of State at the first possible opportunity.''  ENDS

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