[Sinn Fein]

24th July 2002

363 attacks against Catholics in under three months - McLaughlin

Sinn Fein MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has expressed deep anger that against the backdrop of a loyalist murder campaign Tony Blair appears intent on making remarks, at the behest of David Trimble, which everyone knows are focused primarily on republicans. Mr. McLaughlin said:

``No one should be under any illusion about where we stand on sectarianism. We absolutely abhor it. We are totally opposed to it. All sectarian attacks should end immediately. There have, of course, been sectarian attacks on protestant homes and where this has happened republicans have been active on the ground in bringing these attacks to an end.

``But we have to be clear about where the majority of these attacks emanate. They result from an orchestrated campaign from loyalist paramilitaries and the figures bear this out.

``In the last three months there have been 363 attacks against Catholics. On average four sectarian attacks a day for the last three months. There have been 144 bomb attacks, 25 shooting incidents, 151 homes damaged, 42 people assaulted and Gerard Lawlor was shot dead by loyalists as he walked home along the Antrim Road on Monday night. These figures, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, clearly show that what is happening here is an orchestrated murder campaign by loyalists against catholics and not tit-for-tat as is so often stated by the media.

``Sinn Fein on a number of different levels have been working to bring an end to sectarian tensions, not least in the interface areas in Belfast but also in terms of the Fountain in Derry.

``Collectively we must set our face against sectarianism. There can be no justification for any sectarian attack.''

List of Attacks on Nationalists/Catholics over the last three months


The last three months have seen a sustained increase in Loyalist attacks on Catholics throughout the Six Counties, particularly in Belfast.

In the last three months there have been 363 attacks against Catholics. That is, on average, four sectarian attacks a day for the last three months.  There have been 144 bomb attacks, 25 shooting incidents, 151 homes damaged, 42 people assaulted and Gerard Lawlor was shot dead by loyalists as he walked home along the Antrim Road on Monday night.  These figures, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, clearly show that what is happening here is an orchestrated murder campaign by loyalists against catholics and not tit-for-tat attacks as is so often stated by the media.

Sinn Fein on a number of different levels have been working to bring an end to sectarian tensions, not least in the interface areas in Belfast but also in terms of the Fountain in Derry.

Collectively we must set our face against sectarianism. There can be no justification for any sectarian attack.

May 2002

May 1, Wednesday

UDA pipe bomb attacks on a pub and on a senior citizen's care home in Randalstown, Co. Antrim.

May 4, Saturday

A group of 12 loyalists attacked Catholic homes in North Queen Street with iron bars.

In Hughenden Gardens in the Cavehill area, a busload of loyalists wearing Rangers FC tops attacked Catholic homes.

Loyalists in Larne attacked a group of Catholics near a pub in the town.

In Ballymena two men were treated in hospital after being attacked by loyalists.

Loyalists threw acid into the face of a 25-year-old Catholic man on Clifton Street in north Belfast. The man was taken to hospital to be treated for burns.

In east Belfast loyalists attacked houses in Madrid Street in the Short Strand with bottles and stones.

May 5, Sunday

In the Limestone Road area in north Belfast, loyalists threw a blast bomb that exploded close to where Catholic children were playing.

May 6, Monday

In north Belfast, loyalists attacked five Catholic homes in Newington Street with ball-bearings and bolts.

Loyalists attempted to drag a Catholic man from his car in North Queen Street.

Houses in Serpentine Gardens, in north Belfast, were attacked.

An 11-year-old girl walking home from the York Gate Centre was knocked over by a supermarket trolley when an RUC/PSNI landrover hit it at high speed.  She suffered injuries to her legs, face and head.

In south Belfast, loyalists attacked Catholic homes in the Markets area.

May 7, Tuesday

Petrol bombs were thrown at Catholic homes in Hesketh Road in Ardoyne and in Whitewell Road and Serpentine Road.

May 11, Saturday

In the Short Strand in east Belfast loyalists from the Thistle Court/Madrid Street area attacked Catholic homes in Madrid Street.

May 12, Sunday

Loyalists pipe bombed Catholic homes in the Madrid Street  area of the Short Strand, east Belfast in the early hours of the morning.  Masked men then emerged and attacked more Catholic homes.

That evening the PSNI attacked and badly assaulted Short Strand resident Paud Devenney, who was trying to calm the situation. He suffered two skull fractures and brain damage as a result of his.

Later that night loyalists attacked pensioners' houses on Strand Walk with blast bombs. The stoning of Catholic homes in Madrid Street carried on throughout the day intensifying at around 6.30pm until at 8.00pm there was a concerted and sustained attack on Catholic houses in Madrid Street, Beechfield Street and Bryson Street by a group of up to 100 loyalist firing ball bearings, marbles, golf balls and stones from the roof of Beechfield Street primary school.

May 13, Monday

In the Short Strand in east Belfast loyalists attacked Catholic homes in Madrid Street, Edgar Street, Bryson Street and Beechfield Street with ball bearings, stones, marbles and fireworks. The attacks carried on from early in the evening until 4.30 am the following day.

May 14, Tuesday

During the evening loyalists gathered in Thistle Court and threw missiles at Catholic residents in Madrid Street, in the Short Strand in east Belfast, from behind security force vehicles.

May 15, Wednesday  

In the Short Strand in east Belfast loyalists erected flags along the interface across which they later threw stones, bricks, fireworks and blast bombs. One of the houses hit by a blast bomb caught fire.

Loyalist attacked Catholic homes in Abbey Glen, north of Belfast.

Three loyalist pipe bombs were found opposite St. Gerard's Church (near the junction of Serpentine and Antrim roads) in north Belfast. The bombs were primed and ready for use.

Loyalists attacked Catholic homes close to the interface with the Fountain

May 16, Thursday

In east Belfast, Catholic residents of the Short Strand were attacked in their homes with fireworks, bottles, bricks and marbles.

May 19, Sunday

In east Belfast, Short Strand residents were again attacked in their homes with bottles, stones and bricks.

May 20, Monday

In east Belfast Short Strand residents were once more attacked in their homes with bottles, stones and bricks. Loyalists also threw a firework at workmen erecting the security fence across the interface.

May 21, Tuesday

Attacks on Catholic residents of the Short Strand in east Belfast continued.

May 22, Wednesday

In east Belfast, loyalist youths attacked homes in Madrid Street and Bryson Street in the Short Strand with bricks and golf balls.

May 23, Thursday

In east Belfast, homes in the Short Strand were attacked by loyalists with bottles, stones, slates, paintbombs, marbles and bricks across the new security gate.

May 26, Sunday

Loyalists in Glengormley picketed outside Carnmoney Cemetery as Catholics held an annual Cemetery Sunday service.

Loyalists threw a blast bomb into the back garden of an elderly woman living on Newington Avenue in north Belfast. The blast bomb landed beside an oil tank and exploded.

May 27, Monday

Catholic taxi drivers in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, were warned that they could be in danger from loyalist blast-bomb attacks.

May 31, Friday

In east Belfast Short Strand residents were attacked in their homes with slates, stones, and bricks. Loyalists erecting flags on the Newtownards Road, using a hydraulic lift, stoned children - two 6-year-olds, a 5-year-old and a 2-year old - in St Matthews Court.

Loyalists later threw two blast bombs, several petrol bombs, stones, bricks, bolts, ball bearings and golf balls across the 'security' fencing.

A number of gunshots were fired into Strand Walk.

June 2002

June 3, Monday

A bus driver was injured when loyalists opened fire on the Newtownards Road. Loyalists again fired shots on the Newtownards Road at about 11 pm that evening.

June 5, Wednesday

A funeral held at St. Matthew's Church on Seaforde Street in the Short Strand was attacked by loyalists. Bricks and bottles rained down on the doors and windows of St. Matthew's as loyalists jumped into the church grounds trying to force their way into the funeral."

A loyalist sniper fired into homes in the nationalist Short Strand from a rooftop on Susan Street (just off the Lower Newtownards Road.)

June 7, Friday

A number of students at the Belfast Institute's Tower Street campus in east Belfast were forced to show their identification to a gang of masked loyalists trying to find out if they were from the Short Strand and/or Catholic. One student was told that all Catholics would be shot.

A masked loyalist gunman pointed a gun at a woman from the Short Strand, outside her place of work at Bryson Community Enterprises.

East Belfast loyalists blocked a doctor's surgery in a community centre, preventing access to nationalists from the Short Strand.

June 8, Saturday

Loyalists from east Belfast picketed the Mountpottinger Post Office for the second time in three weeks preventing Short Strand residents from picking up their family and/or income support benefits.

Nationalist homes just outside the Fountain were attacked

For the last three nights loyalists have been blaring paramilitary songs from Cluan Place into the Short Strand until 4 in the morning.

June 9, Sunday

Loyalists threatened a Catholic woman in Magherafelt, Co. Derry and told the woman to leave the estate immediately.

June 11, Tuesday

The home of a Catholic family in Crumlin, Co. Antrim was petrol bombed at about 2.20 am. Three petrol bombs were thrown; one damaged the family car, another exploded on an outside wall while the third went through the front room window.

The UDA/UFF fired upon youths playing football in north Belfast. The shots were fired from the loyalist Tiger's Bay estate.

18 attacks on Catholic homes in Larne.

June 12, Wednesday

Sectarian attacks on Derry's Fountain Estate were condemned as disgraceful by Sinn Fein Councillor Peter Anderson

June 13, Thursday

Sharon McMullan, a Catholic woman from the Short Strand, was rushed to the hospital after a pipe bomb exploded outside her front door. The pipe bomb was packed with barbed nails that -- upon explosion -- hit her in both legs. A second pipe bomb also exploded outside her front door.

June 14, Friday

Loyalists are continuing in their threats and intimidation of catholic families in the Craigy Hill estate in the town. Two years ago there were 100 or so Catholic families there, now there are just 30. In the past week alone, 3 Catholic families have applied to the Housing Executive for accelerated purchase of their homes so that they can leave Larne.

June 15, Saturday

Two men were attacked by loyalists wielding hammers and hatchets in front of Woodbourne RUC/PSNI station

June 16, Sunday

A young Catholic woman fled her home on Pump Street in Derry following a loyalist attack

June 17, Monday

Catholic students from St. Malachy's High School in Antrim are being intimidated and attacked as they leave school.

A home bordering the loyalist Fountain Estate was hit by a pipe bomb

June 20, Thursday

Pipe bomb thrown at the home of a young Catholic couple in Ballynahinch, South Down

Derry Sinn Fein representatives condemn sectarian attacks in the city - particularly those along Fountain Estate/Bishop Street.

June 21, Friday

A number of Catholic homes were damaged by loyalists taking part in the controversial "Tour of the North" Orange parade in north Belfast.

June 22, Saturday

Catholic employees at an east Belfast shopping centre were forced to leave their jobs due to loyalist death threats. Catholic employees at both Boots and KFC at the Connswater Shopping Centre have made these allegations which have been confirmed by the PSNI/RUC. (SBN)

A Catholic taxi driver and his three passengers came under attack near the Mater Hospital in north Belfast on Saturday afternoon. Loyalists threw a meat cleaver at his vehicle. (IN)

A Catholic man from the Oldpark area of north Belfast is "lucky to be alive" following a vicious sectarian beating. The 38-year-old was assaulted at around 2am along Beechnut Place off the Crumlin Road. He sustained injuries to his legs, head and abdomen and he remains in critical condition in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

June 23, Sunday

Four Catholic teens were attacked by loyalists as they made their way home from Mass in Carryduff, Co. Down. Two carloads of loyalists followed the teens along the Saintfield Road in Carryduff and attacked them.

A north Belfast pensioner out walking his dog was attacked by two loyalists - one of who wielded a meat cleaver. The 65-year-old man was hospitalised and received 10 staples to his head. He was also treated for bruising on his back.

June 24, Monday

Nail bomb thrown through the downstairs window of a house in South Belfast.

June 25, Tuesday

Loyalists attacked and damaged Catholic homes in Glengormley.

June 27, Thursday

Seven homes in the Cliftondene Park and Deerpark Road area were attacked by loyalists throwning paint bombs.  They also fired shots.

June 28, Friday

Catholic graves in Carnmoney Cemetery in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim were vandalised during the night. More than 20 headstones and Celtic crosses were smashed and pushed over.

Loyalists fired shots into homes on Alliance Avenue.

June 29, Saturday

Nail bomb thrown at a home in Bingnian Drive in West Belfast.

June 30, Sunday

A Catholic teenager from Larne in Co. Antrim was attacked shortly after 2 am as he made his way along the Old Glenarm Road. He sustained a fractured skull and a number of other injuries. He was taken to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital and later to Antrim Area Hospital.

Over the last week there have been 18 attacks on nationalists in Larne.

Loyalists attacked homes in Lower Lenadoon.

July 2002

July 3, Wednesday

Two nationalist homes in the Leckagh estate, Magherafelt attacked with petrol bombs.

July 4, Thursday

Catholic family home in North Parade, South Belfast, petrol bombed by loyalists. Pipe bomb attack on a house in Bryson Court, Short Strand.

July 6, Saturday

2am - 18-year-old Catholic man beaten unconcious by a loyalist mob in Kilkeel, Co. Down.

Pipe bomb thrown at a home in Newington Avenue.

July 7, Sunday

Loyalists attacked the home of a young couple on the Springfield Road in Belfast.

Two carloads of loyalists throw large fireworks into the Yorkgate shopping complex.

A black-taxi driver had a hammer thrown at his vehicle by loyalists at the junction of the Crumlin Road and the Ligoniel Road.

Three men attempt to abduct a woman on the Cliftonville Road.

48 year old man was knocked down in a hit and run in Union Street.

July 8, Monday

Around 100 loyalists attacked the nationalist Rathenraw Estate in Antrim.

Five shots were fired through the living room of a Catholic home in Coleraine.

July 10, Wednesday

A Catholic family forced to flee their home in the Stiles estate, Antrim Town after a loyalist attack on their home.

July 11, Thursday

11pm - 16 year old Catholic teenager was stabbed in the neck and back by loyalists as he walked along Glentane Drive in the Skegoniel area of North Belfast.

1am - loyalists attempt to abduct a Catholic man at Broadway roundabout, West Belfast.

July 12, Friday

Cameraman beaten by a group of loyalists on the Limestone Road.

Loyalists attack residents, cars and homes in Carrick Hill.

Bottles and stones thrown at Lancaster Street.

July 13, Saturday

Two Catholic churches attacked in Portglenone and Harryville, Co. Antrim. Controled explosion carried out on a device outside a Catholic owned business in Ahoghill, Co. Antrim.

July 15, Monday

Golf balls and stones hurled at homes on Alliance Avenue.

Bolts thrown at houses on Ardoyne Road.

July 16, Tuesday

Man attacked and beaten outside Henry Joy's bar by a gang of loyalists. The victim received 45 staples to head injuries and was also treated for a serious knife wound.

July 17, Wednesday

Sustained petrol bomb and paint bomb attacks on houses in Alliance Avenue.

50 loyalists attack homes in Ligoniel with petrol bombs and stones and shots were also fired. One home was gutted by fire and nine other homes were damaged.

July 18, Thursday

4:30pm - Stones and slates thrown over the peaceline at nationalist homes from the loyalist Glenbryn area. Four people were brought to hospital with head injuries.

5pm - A Catholic man and woman were injured when missiles were hurled in Alliance Avenue from loyalist Glenbryn.

10:30pm - More than a dozen petrol bombs thrown at nationalist homes in North Belfast. Three homes in the Deerpark area of North Belfast were attacked by Loyalists. (Windows broken).

10:45pm - North Antrim Sinn Fein councillor Philip McGuigan received a bomb in the post from Loyalists which was picked up by his three-year-old son.

11pm - Nationalist homes in Alliance Avenue targetted by loyalists throwing petrol bombs from the loyalist Glenbryn area.

11pm - Nationalist houses in Ligoniel attacked by around 60 loyalists with machetes and sticks - Loyalists broke into houses and set them on fire with petrol bombs (10 houses damaged). Shots were also fired by loyalists during the attack.  Paramedics were also injured during the attack.

11pm - Upper Crumlin Road - A Catholic mother and her three children were trapped in their burning car which was set alight by a loyalist mob of about 60 men.

1am - Catholic man was attacked and beaten  by a four strong loyalist gang armed with bats and a knife. He was dragged into a a deserted cul-de-sac in the loyalist end of the Oldpark Road after he left a pub close to the interface area.

2am - Catholic father of three had to undergo emergency surgery after becoming a victim of a sectarian knife attack as he walked with a friend in Rosapenna Street, North Belfast.

July 19, Friday

5am - Loyalists petrol bomb a parochial house in Newcastle, County Down.

July 20, Saturday

2am - A gang of loyalists wrecked cars and houses with bricks and petrol bombs in Skegoneil Avenue, North Belfast.

5am - Loyalist gang returned to Skegoniel Avenue to carry out further attacks. Nine cars damaged, two completely burnt out in Skegoniel Avenue and one in nearby Glandore Avenue.  Catholic homes were attacked in Rosapenna Street in the Oldpark area of North Belfast.  Bricks, paint bombs and bottles thrown at nationalist homes in Alliance Avenue.

July 21, Sunday

10am - Magherafelt - An explosive device left in the garden of a nationalist home.

10pm Loyalists fired shots  at two men on Salisbury Avenue

10.45pm Two loyalists on a motorcycle tried to kill a man on the Oldpark Road but their gun jammed

11.20pm Shots were fired at people in Ligoniel

11.30pm A 29 year old man was shot in Rosapenna Court

Midnight  Gerard Lawlor was shot dead by loyalists as he walked home along the Antrim Road.

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