[Sinn Fein]

10 July 1998

Humanitarian Aid Convoy to Garvaghy Road attacked by loyalists

Statement from Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann, Dara O'Hagan, criticising the RUC for harassing and delaying essential aid and food, in particular baby food and products from reaching Garvaghy Road residents. She also criticised the RUC for allowing loyalists to attack the convoy.

Ms. O'Hagan said:

``A humanitarian aid gesture by nationalists from West Belfast, which left this morning carrying essential items and foods stuffs, has been deliberately delayed from reaching its destination this afternoon by the RUC. The aid convoy was stopped and searched three times. During one of those stops loyalists attacked and broke windows in the vehicles.

``Residents on the Garvaghy Road have been placed under siege for almost a week now. Local shops in the area have had no supplies delivered and the shelves are virtually empty. Items like nappies, baby foods and other necessary baby products have now run out and it is extremely dangerous for residents to travel into Portadown to purchase them.

``It is an absolute disgrace that we, the victim community, are placed under siege in the first instance. The inaction of the RUC in stopping Orangemen and loyalists, some carrying bombs, from gathering at Drumcree is in stark contrast to the treatment of those bringing humanitarian aid to this beleaguered community.

``They have been harassed on the journey, stopped, searched and attacked while those causing trouble at Drumcree and who attacked the aid convoy have travelled unhindered.''

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