[Sinn Fein]

2 July 1998

Attacks on churches co-ordinated

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has described the attacks on ten Catholic churches as being carefully co-ordinated sectarianism designed to inflame passions in the run-up to Drumcree.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``These attacks were obviously not just a series of isolated coincidences. They were carefully planned and co-ordinated with the intention of instilling fear in the entire nationalist community.

``The leaders of the loyal orders and individual Unionist spokespersons cannot absolve themselves from responsibility for these actions. They are a direct consequence of the rhetoric and irresponsible threatening statements made by these leaders since the decision of the Parades Commission.

``It is now incumbent on these same leaders to diffuse the situation by entering into immediate and unconditional dialogue with the designated representatives of Residents Groups in order to avert further attacks and intimidation.

``No one in the nationalist community - no matter the provocation - should be goaded into any form of violent response to these attacks.''

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