Sectarian Attacks

8-14 July 2000


In our document on Rosemary Nelson, we included an appendix that listed all known loyalist attacks from 1 January 1999 through 30 April 1999. Given the nature of the document the list focused on loyalist attacks. Since that time, we have continued to document attacks across the North, expanding our remit to include all attacks that might be considered sectarian (sometimes, however, the motives arenít always clear.)

The following list of sectarian and race attacks is from 8 through 14 July 2000. Should any incidents have inadvertently been left off the list please contact us. The issue of inclusion/exclusion is very problematic. For instance this document does not include punishment beatings Ďwithiní a community, attacks by the security forces on civilians or by civilians on the security forces or murders where the perpetrators are believed to be from the same community and the motive is not thought to have been sectarian. We have also not included violent incidents connected to feuding within loyalism. We will update this list each month.

Due to the upsurge in sectarian attacks during July 2000 we plan to release an updated version of this list on a weekly basis for the duration of the month.

The RUC said there had been 280 attacks on security forces by loyalists, including 13 shooting incidents, in the first 10 days of July, and that 57 RUC officers and five soldiers had been injured. There had been 288 petrol bombings, some involving dozens of devices, and the police had recovered 941 petrol bombs. Seventy-seven homes, 55 commercial premises and 358 vehicles had been damaged, and 88 vehicles hijacked. There had been 146 arrests with 72 people charged. In response four plastic bullets were fired. (As always great care needs to be taken with RUC statistics.) On BBC television the Chief Constable insisted there would be "many more retrospective prosecutions" once the situation had eased.

8 July

2.30am. Loyalists playing flutes and bagpipes on Carlisle Road in Derry attempted to block a taxi driverís path as he went to pick up a fare. One went to throw a bottle at the car but was stopped by one of the others.

It was claimed that two carloads of loyalists attempted to gain entry to a nationalist home on the Cavan Road in Castlederg, Co Tyrone. They were frightened off because the adjacent road was too busy.

8/9 July

Two Catholic primary schools and an integrated college were targeted by arsonists overnight. The attacks in Glengormley and Carrickfergus are believed to have been sectarian.

Two Catholic men escaped with their lives in Ardoyne when loyalists attempted to open fire on them. A car slowed down alongside the two men and a back-seat passenger wearing a balaclava pulled a gun and tried to fire but it jammed. One man dived to the ground while the other jumped over a wall. The car then reversed back up and the gunman tried to fire again twice. The gun jammed both times.

Loyalists attacked the house of a Protestant woman in Newbuildings in Derry after a Drumcree-related protest nearby. The woman works for the Community Police Liaison Forum.

9 July

According to press reports the RUC warned that the UFF/UDA, together with the LVF, have threatened to "kill a Catholic a day" until the Orange Order is allowed down the Garvaghy Road.

A petrol bomb was thrown into a garden at Lurgan hospital. The device, which failed to ignite, landed just yards from a hospital ward where stroke victims and respite patients are cared for. The RUC linked the attack to disturbances on the nearby loyalist Mourneview estate.

10 July

Most areas of the north were affected by protests and roadblocks, which began at 4.00pm and blocked many arterial roads and major junctions. The protests were supposed to finish at 8.00pm, but in some cases the protests and obstructions remained, while in others riots soon developed. In all 125 roads were blocked.

The RUC pushed 300 protesters back up the Albert Bridge Road when they tried to enter the nationalist Short Strand area of Belfast.

In Limavady a man was knocked to the ground and beaten by a group of loyalists when he got out of his car and attempted to remove a seemingly unattended roadblock. The man and his family were on their way to the wake of a close relative.

In Ballynure, Co Antrim, the RUC deployed a water cannon to clear protesters but didnít use it.

In Rathgael, near Bangor, Co Down, a young woman driver was left badly shaken when a mob surrounded her car. One man jumped on the bonnet.

The RUC found component parts for blast bombs in Greenisland, Co Antrim.

Cars were hijacked and set on fire in many areas including Newtownards, Lurgan, Dunmurry, Derry, Craigavon, Belfast and Antrim. In the centre of Lurgan a crowd of about 200 loyalists gathered at the war memorial in the nationalist end of the town and confrontation threatened as nationalists gathered in the William Street area. The RUC pushed the loyalists back towards High Street.

Even in areas not directly affected by the protests shops and businesses closed early to ensure that workers got home safely. Rush hour began before 3.00pm and by 4.00pm the roads were already deserted.

In Belfast the Chamber of Trade advised its members to close by 3.00pm. Mr Frank Caddy, Chief Executive of the chamber, said: "We donít need to lose this sort of turnover which must amount to several hundred thousand pounds in the loss of two or three hours of trade."

With the exception of nationalist west Belfast almost every main road in the city had at least one obstruction. At Carlisle Circus, on the main route into north Belfast, loyalist leader Johnny Adair was present.

Other major junctions, such as Shaftesbury Square, Broadway roundabout and the Albert Bridge Road, were blocked.

Antrim town, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballyclare, Ahoghill and Ballymena were affected by protests. A car driven by SDLP councillor Oran Keenan was hijacked and overturned in Antrim.

In counties Down and Armagh, roads in Lurgan, Portadown, Tandragee, Castlewellan and Markethill were blocked. The M1 motorway was blocked at Sprucefield, Donaghmore and Dungannon. Roads in Ballynahinch, Newtownards, Annalong, Comber, Downpatrick, Carryduff, Killyleagh, Moira and Newry were also affected. The A1 road to Dublin was blocked at Dromore.

Many roads in the Waterside area of Derry were blocked. There were protests on Milltown Crescent, Ardmore Road and Limavady Road and, for a very short period, on the upper deck of the Craigavon Bridge. Magherafelt was also affected. The Ballygawley roundabout on the main road from Belfast to the West was blocked, as were roads in Moygashel, Omagh and Aughnacloy.

The nationalist Lower Ormeau Road was hemmed in for several hours and on the peace-line between the Falls and Shankill Roads there were a number of incidents in the Northumberland St area.

A car was hijacked and abandoned on a motorway bridge at Fortwilliam, north Belfast, forcing the closure of the M2, M3 and M5.

Independent Unionist Councillor Andrew Davidson was forced to drive through a red light after his car was attacked by loyalists at the Woodburn crossroads in the Waterside area of Derry. A crowd of about 15-20 youths, some wearing scarves over their faces, had blocked the road, and a number of the protesters jumped on to the councillorís car as he attempted to pass.

Bomb disposal officers were called to deal with suspected pipe bombs in Newtownabbey. The RUC recovered 32 petrol bombs in Thorburn Road in the same area.

Orangemen from Portadown and from the Ballynafeigh Lodge in south Belfast picketed the Parades Commission office in Belfast. Some of those who had participated in the demonstration disrupted traffic on the M1 afterwards, moving slowly along in a convoy of 20 vehicles. Earlier there had been a hoax bomb alert outside the home of a member of the Paradeís Commission.

Loyalist gunmen attacked a Catholic-owned taxi in Glenmachan Street in Belfast. Those in the car escaped serious injury when the driver and passengers ducked and the driver swerved to avoid the gunmen who had been trying to stop it by holding up their hands and pointing a gun at the car. The passenger in the rear of the car suffered minor injuries when a brick was thrown through the back window as the car sped away.

Two Catholic churches, one in Castlederg and one in Newtownabbey, were set on fire. The home of a Catholic priest in Brunswick Road, Bangor was attacked by approximately 150 loyalist protesters. His church, St Comgallís, was also attacked and two windows in the building were broken. The same protesters also stoned businesses in what is a mixed area of the predominantly Protestant town.

Car show rooms in Coleraine and Banbridge were set on fire. Cars were hijacked and set on fire in Derryís Waterside. One driver had their rear window put through as they sped away from would-be hijackers.

Two Danish tourists described the situation here as "more like Bosnia" after they were stopped at a loyalist roadblock on the Killyleagh to Armagh road. They complained that the RUC had refused to help them.

Sam McAllister, convicted murderer and member of the notorious UVF Shankill Butchers gang, was hospitalised after being badly beaten by suspected members of the UDA/UFF in Lisburn. The attack is seen as being part of the escalating feud within loyalism.

Five men appeared before Craigavon Magistrates' Court charged with having petrol bombs and wearing masks on Monday night.

11 July

(This section includes incidents linked to 11th night Ďcelebrationsí which occurred in the early hours of the 12th.)

Portadown was described as "a vacant lot" minutes after a group of 150 men, without weapons or masks, walked into shops and told them "youíre closed". A crowd of about 200 loyalists tried to enter the bottom end of the Garvaghy Road at Shillingtonís Bridge but were pushed back by the RUC. At the same time a similar sized crowd gathered at the St Johnís Church at the upper end of the Garvaghy Road and were also held back by the RUC. In nearby Lurgan a group of 50 Loyalists blocked the upper end of High Street.

Businesses throughout the north of Ireland closed early as staff rushed home to avoid roadblocks. RUC Chief Superintendent Roy McCune defended the loyalist protesterís right to block roads, saying that people had a "legitimate right" to protest on roads.

Six lorries and a storage unit were damaged in an arson attack at a mushroom factory near Dungannon at around 12.45am. A Dungannon restaurant was badly damaged in a petrol bomb attack at around 6.30am and a tyre depot in Armagh was hit by a similar attack just after 5.00am.

Petrol bombs were hurled at a Catholic Church at Doagh Road in Ballyclare, causing scorch damage to a hall adjacent to the Church. One person was arrested after the attack.

A man was badly beaten by a mob and then shot dead at an eleventh night bonfire in Larne. The man, 22-year-old Andy Cairns, alleged to have been a member of the UVF, is believed to have been killed by the UFF/UDA.

Minor damage was caused in a suspected arson attack at the Presbyterian Church Hall at Drumgor, Craigavon. The building was extensively damaged in a similar attack some weeks ago.

A woman and her six-year-old child escaped uninjured after a brick was dropped from a bridge in the loyalist Finaghy Road North area through the windscreen of their car.

A Belfast man was threatened by the RUC with criminal charges for driving on to a footpath to escape a loyalist roadblock in Ballynahinch. The man has vowed to go to jail rather than pay a fine over the incident.

In Bushmills, Co Antrim, a lorry was hijacked and set on fire. There were security alerts at Orange halls in Dungannon, Armagh, Moira, Lurgan and Magheralin.

A small explosive device was thrown from a car into a pub in the nationalist village of Dunloy, Co Antrim and another was discovered in the grounds of an Ancient Order of Hibernians' hall in Rasharkin. Both failed to explode and were removed by the security forces.

Petrol bombs were thrown at an Orange hall in Aghalee, Co Antrim. Three Apprentice Boys who were in the building at the time were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. The building also houses a Church of Ireland hall.

Seven shots were fired at an RUC vehicle in Belfast. There was an alert at Dungannon premises belonging to Mr Joel Patten, a former leading Orangeman closely linked to the Spirit of Drumcree faction.

An arson attack by loyalists on Dromachose Cross-Community Association in Limavady caused extensive damage.

Protestants living in the Fountain estate in Derry had their homes pelted with stones thrown by nationalist youths, some as young as seven. On one occasion youths also fired an air gun at a young girl who was in her bedroom doing her homework.

St Patrickís Catholic Primary school in Portrush was set on fire. At the same time a number of petrol bombs were thrown at the RUC in the town.

The RUC arrested three young men for allegedly spraying republican graffiti on a gable wall in a mixed estate in Newtownabbey. At the same time the RUC were criticised for their inaction over car hijackings by loyalists in the area.

Residents in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, claimed that a loyalist band was allowed to ignore a Parades Commission ruling that prohibited it from marching in an area of the town. The band had been prohibited from marching along Ferguson Crescent in the town but was allowed by the RUC to pass along a footpath through the area. The chairman of Strabane District Council, Charlie McHugh, claims that when nationalist residents protested to the RUC they were told that they [RUC] and not the Parades Commission would make decisions on the ground. The Parades Commission said that while using the pavement instead of the road "may not be in breach of the letter of the determination it was definitely a breach of the spirit of it."

Nationalists in Dundrum, near Castlewellan, were besieged by loyalists during the 11th night bonfire. ĎRevellersí urinated in peopleís gardens, blocked entrances and chanted sectarian slogans late into the night. Two people were injured in stabbing incidents at an 11th night bonfire in the Cregagh area of east Belfast.

Loyalists from the Shankill road area held an 11th night disco, just across the peace-line from the nationalist Springfield road. At the disco sectarian tunes were played and the DJ was heard shouting, "Stand up if you hate the Fenians". Later, after the bonfire had been lit, they stood up on pallets at the peace line itself and threw missiles at nationalist homes on the Springfield Road. The RUC, it was claimed, looked on from their landrovers. The bombardment carried on until 8.00am when the RUC arrived on the Springfield Road side to clear the way for the Orange parade.

During the night 21 RUC officers were injured during disturbances in the Corcrain and Edgarstown areas of Portadown. A number of plastic bullets were fired by the RUC. More than 100 petrol bombs were thrown at security forces in the Lincoln Courts and Tullyally areas of Derry it was claimed.

A Catholic Church in Ballyclare was petrol bombed for the second night running, with only minimal damage being caused.

In Belfast an ambulance crew was attacked at Forth River Drive. Two crewmembers needed hospital treatment. An ambulance crew was also attacked in Nelson Drive in Derry as it attended to a man that had suffered an epileptic fit.

A woman was injured by a crossbow bolt as she drove along the Crumlin Road in Belfast. Gunfire was reported in the Rathcoole and Newtownabbey areas of Belfast and the Kilcooley estate in Bangor. Masked loyalists fired shots at bonfires in Sandy Row and the Shankill Road.

The single mother of a disabled child described her terror as her home in Magherafelt was attacked by Loyalists. The mother of six had been living in the Protestant Leckagh Drive area of the town for only two weeks as renovations were carried out on her own home to make it more suitable for her disabled child.

A Catholic-owned house was badly damaged in a petrol bomb attack on the Newry Road in Armagh.

12 July

(Many incidents occurred in the early hours of the Twelfth as documented above)

RUC officers were assaulted and threatened with a sword as they attempted to stop Orange marchers from urinating in a street in the centre of Belfast.

Four men, including one in his 70s, were injured when stone throwing youths attacked their bus as they travelled back from the county Orange Order parade in Coleraine, Co Derry, to Co Donegal in the Republic. The attack, in which the windscreen and a side window of the bus were smashed, took place at Prehen, outside Derry. Later, another bus travelling to Newbuildings was attacked at the same spot.

13 July

An Orange hall in Co.Cavan, in the Republic of Ireland, was gutted in a fire.

More Catholics are being forced to flee their homes in Randalstown in County Antrim because of sectarian attacks. While there had been quite a few Catholics living in the Neilsbrook estate, there are now said to be only ten families left. The situation is said to have become so bad for those remaining in the Neilsbrook estate that they are unable to use public amenities. Two years ago UVF and LVF paramilitaries started to put flags and murals up around the estate. The community centre is now said to be completely out of bounds for Catholics. Walls are adorned with sectarian plaques and park benches are daubed with the letters "K.A.T" meaning "Kill All Taigs".

SDLP representatives in Castledawson, Co Derry, called for more RUC action after three Catholic-owned homes were attacked in the town.

Portadown Orangeman Ivan Hewitt, who sports numerous tattoos featuring swastikas and other neo-nazi and white power emblems warned in a television documentary that it may be time for loyalists to "bring their war to Britain." An Anti Fascist Action spokesperson said the documentary showed a "definite link" between British neo-nazi organisations and loyalists. There have already between numerous reports of members of various British extreme right-wing organisations attending Drumcree related protests.

14 July

A 50 strong gang of loyalists broke away from the main pro-Drumcree protest in Finaghy, north Belfast, and attacked the nearby nationalist Grangeville area. The RUC, who were only 50 yards away at the time, did not intervene for some thirty minutes. In that time the loyalists blocked streets, abused residents and attempted to hijack two cars.

Three Catholic families have been intimidated out of their homes in the Lisburn Road area of Belfast.

In West Belfast a Stewartstown Road pensioner escaped injury after the latest of numerous attacks on his home by stone throwing loyalists from the nearby Suffolk estate. The man who is one of several pensioners to have suffered stone and brick throwing attacks over the last few weeks, had his living room window smashed by a brick, which landed on the seat where he sits to watch television.

Portadown Orangemenís calls for another day of widespread protest went unheeded as the Armagh and Grand Lodges refused to support their calls. Shops and businesses across the north remained open and only a handful of roads were blocked for a short period, including Blackís Road, Crumlin Road, Ballysillan Road, Westland Road and Oldpark Road in Belfast. Most of the arterial routes in the city were unaffected. Short protests were also staged on the Dublin Road in Antrim, the Albert Road in Carrickfergus and the Ballygawley roundabout in Co Tyrone. There were pickets at several areas in Portadown, but no more than 200 protesters were involved in total.

The steel security barrier at Drumcree was dismantled and many of the extra troops deployed there returned to barracks.

Sectarian attacks section

Home Page