[Sinn Fein]

12th July 1999

St. Matthews Chapel Attacked

A group of up to 150 Loyalist attempted to attack St. Matthews Catholic chapel in the Short Strand. The incident took place at approximately 6:30 this evening . The Loyalist gang attempted to enter the Church but were kept back by local residents. The RUC then moved in but failed to disperse the attackers. A stand-off situation is currently developing.

Speaking from the scene Sinn Fein local representative Dominic Corr said:

``Loyalist attacks are nothing new to our community. In particular attacks during the marching season are a common occurrence. However we were hoping that this year might be different, but this evenings incident has once again highlighted the vulnerability of our district.

``In addition we have seen the RUC blatantly refusing to effectively deal with a serious situation. This also comes as no surprise.''

Mr Corr concluded:

``Tonights incident highlights the disparity between the public portrayal of the 12th as a carnival day, and the very different reality for many Nationalists.''

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