[Sinn Fein]

14 April 1997

Weekend violence a personal tragedy to Limestone Road people

Sinn Fein candidate for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, this afternoon visited residents of Limestone Road who have been forced to flee their homes because of loyalist violence at the weekend.

Speaking following discussions with local residents Mr. Kelly said:

``The people I talked to this afternoon are all victims of an orchestrated loyalist attack on nationalist residents of the Limestone Road area. In the course of weekend violence these people have had homes and property destroyed and in some case personal belongings stolen by rampaging loyalist mobs.

``It is clearly not good enough that in this day and age in the city of Belfast that scenes reminiscent of those of the turn of the century and the inception of the six county state are still visited upon us.

``The events of the weekend must serve as a stark reminder to us all of the responsibilities we face in terms of creating a climate in which people can live without fear of this type of onslaught. There is an immediate onus on all people of influence to do all in their power to diffuse this situation.

``Yet again the role of the RUC has been called into question. Residents have complained to me that when homes were coming under attack the RUC assumed the role of spectator. In fact rather than offer practical assistance the RUC advised people of this area that their safety could not be guaranteed. It would seem that the laissez-faire approach to loyalist violence of last summer remains RUC policy.

``The events of the weekend represent a personal tragedy to nationalist people of this area. I call upon the Housing Executive to ensure that proper and expeditious attention is given to those people forced from their homes and would remind Housing Executive officials that there are still a large number of people yet to be re-housed after similar events in North Belfast last summer.'' ENDS

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