Sectarian incidents and attacks

July 1-15th 2001


The following list of sectarian and other hate-driven incidents and attacks is from 01 through 15 July 2001. We rely on a number of sources for our information, but this is by no means comprehensive. The criteria we use for inclusion is that if a person/organisation feels that the motivation for an attack against them was sectarian (or racist or homophobic), then it should be counted as such. We rely on a number of sources for our information, but this is by no means comprehensive. If you find incidents that have been left off the list please contact us.

We rely on a number of sources for our information, but this is by no means comprehensive. If you find incidents that have been left off the list please contact us. A full dossier of sectarian attacks from January 1999 until May 2001 is also available.

Due to the sheer volume of the list this month we are providing a fortnightly breakdown.

Sectarian incidents and attacks July 1-15th 2001

July 1, Sunday Loyalists threw a blast-bomb into the home of a Catholic family in North Belfast. Two children, one four years old and the other five, and two adults were uninjured in the blast. The father of the children was not at the house because he had received a loyalist death threat six weeks previously. (IN, RUC)

July 2, Monday. Lynn Fleming, Sinn Féin councillor for Derry's Waterside, urged nationalists on the east bank of the river to be vigilant after a pipe bomb exploded in the house of a Catholic family at the weekend. (DJ)

The loyalist Single Star Flute Band marched through Annalong, Co. Down without incident after the parade's organisers decided not to march through nationalist areas. While welcoming the move nationalists, however, expressed concern about the proliferation of loyalist paramilitary flags in Annalong and neighbouring Kilkeel. "Surely unionists cannot claim that the UFF had any part to play in the Somme," said a spokesperson. (IN)

Nationalist residents and city centre businesses in Derry urged the Parades' Commission to move the Orange Order's Grand Lodge of Ireland July 12 parade away from the city centre. The Bogside Residents' Group and the City Centre Initiative have said they will continue to oppose the Orange Order's application to march in Derry City centre unless they follow the example of the Apprentice Boys and the Royal Black Preceptory and negotiate with Bogside residents. The Apprentice Boys and Royal Black marches are going ahead partly because they are not having contentious feeder parades this year. Dr James Mehaffey, the Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian) Bishop of Derry, urged the Orange Order to enter into face-to-face talks with the BRG in order to resolve the marching issue "once-and-for-all". (IN, DJ)

The Parades' Commission ruled that the Portadown Orange Lodge could neither march out to Drumcree Church via Obins Street nor march back to the Orange Hall using the Garvaghy Road. Residents of the Garvaghy Road welcomed the ruling. Political representatives encouraged the Orange Order to enter into dialogue with the residents. (IN)

Travel agents throughout the north said that they expected record numbers of people to book holidays abroad around the Twelfth. (IN)

Nationalists in the Fermanagh town of Newtownbutler said they would be holding a peaceful protest against the Orange Order parade through the town on July 8. (IN)

The Parades' Commission re-routed the Orange Order's "Mini Twelfth" parade away from a nationalist area of Lurgan town centre. (IN)

Nationalist residents of the Top of the Hill (Gobnascale) estate on Derry's Waterside blamed the British army and the RUC for starting a riot in which a number of vehicles were burned and a number of RUC officers injured. Local sources say that the RUC started the riot by taunting locals with sectarian comments. There were also numerous reports of British Army personnel playing a recording of the "Sash" from the back of a jeep. The "Sash" is a loyalist song usually associated with Orange parades. (IN)

The homes of two pensioners on Kirk Street, on the Loyalist side of the Springfield Road interface, were petrol bombed by nationalists. Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the attacks. (IN)

A Catholic Church at Knock Road in Dervock, Co Antrim, was vandalised with paint. At the same time it emerged that minor damage was done to the door of the Church of Ireland church at Drumcree. (IN, RUC)

Loyalists from the Fountain estate in Derry gathered at the junction of Wapping Lane and Abercorn Road and hurled stones and sectarian abuse at passing cars. (DJ)

July 3, Tuesday. Nationalist residents and security forces clashed for the second night running in the Top of the Hill estate in Derry. (DJ)

A row broke out after councillors from Craigavon Borough council who are also members of the Orange Order met with the Parades' Commission supposedly to put forward the Boroughs position on the parades' issue. The delegation included David Jones, spokesman for the Portadown Orange Order. (IN)

The Ballymena United Loyalist Cultural Committee, linked to the UDA and the UVF, resumed their picket of the nationalist Fisherwick estate in protest at the flying of Irish tricolours. The Committee, which includes PUP representative William McCaughey, agreed to call off the protests if nationalists took part in a local council-sponsored community forum to discuss nationalist - but not loyalist - flags. William McCaughey was the RUC Special Patrol Group (SPG) officer convicted in 1982 of the murder of William Strathearn in Ahoghill, the gun and bomb attack on the Rock Bar in Keady and the kidnapping of Father Hugh Murphy. See on our website homepage under Armagh/Tyrone. (IN)

Robin Eames, the Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian) Archbishop of Armagh joined South African mediator Brian Currin in making a plea for loyalist paramilitaries to stay away from Drumcree in Portadown this year. Asked to do the same, Portadown Orange spokesman, David Jones, declined to make a direct plea, preferring instead to ask both sides not to engage in violence. Later, the UDA/UFF issued a statement saying that they had "no intention to cause or engage in violent activity at Drumcree" but added that its members had "the right to show solidarity with the Portadown Orangemen". David Ervine of the PUP also asked loyalist paramilitaries to remain calm. (IN)

A quantity of firearms and ammunition was recovered during an RUC search in Ardglass. One man was arrested. (RUC)

July 4, Wednesday. Ciaran Cummings, a 19-year-old Catholic youth from Donore Crescent in Antrim was shot dead as he waited for a lift to work at the Greystone Roundabout. His attackers were on a motorcycle. Ciaran, a Celtic fan, along with other nationalist youths in the area, had been threatened by the LVF in recent months. After hearing the news, his family made a plea for there to be no retaliation. A caller to the Irish News, claiming to be from the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by both the UDA/UFF and the LVF, said the teenager had been shot in "direct response to the Catholic people of Antrim voting in two Sinn Féin [councillors]. They are going to have to pay the price for it. God Save Ulster." (IN, AN, RUC, BBC)

July 5, Thursday. Three Catholic families living in mixed areas in Armagh City prepared to leave their homes after they received bullets in the post. The bullets came wrapped in paper with the words "24 hours" written on them. (IN)

Nationalists broke the windows of three Protestant owned businesses in Keady, Co Armagh. (IN)

The Parades' Commission ruled that the July 12 Orange Order march would not be allowed down the Lower Ormeau road in Belfast, and at the same time confirmed that it would not change its plan to re-route the Drumcree parade in Portadown. A last minute bid by the Orange Order to persuade the Parades Commission to change its determination on the Drumcree march was described as a "box-ticking exercise" by nationalists. (IN)

Two hundred supporters and members of the Shankill Road 'C' Company UFF/UDA rallied in Drumcree. There were also significant UFF/UDA supporting contingents from North and East Belfast. GRRC spokesperson Breandan MacCionnaith said it was obvious that loyalists were intent on causing trouble. It was also reported that American lawyers and human rights activists, here to observe events around Drumcree and other contentious parades, had reiterated their stance that they were fully independent and were not here at the behest of any particular political party. (IN)

David Trimble, former First Minister, speaking to RTE radio about the July 4 murder of Ciaran Cummings said, "there's good reasons to suspect that republicans were behind the Antrim murder" Asked for evidence, he replied "it goes back to drugs - a number of the various forms of racketeering. A number of the murders of Catholics by republicans have been of people who haven't been sharing the profits of their business with republicans in the way they feel they ought to" The claim was refuted by the RUC and widely condemned. Ciaran Cummings' family who were said to have been devastated by the remarks accused Mr Trimble of using Ciaran's murder to score political points. Ciaran's mother thanked the wider community for its support, including the Ballymena Rangers supporters club, who had sent a sympathy card. Nationalist politicians demanded that Trimble apologise for his remarks. In 1999 Trimble attempted to blame republicans for the murder of Rosemary Nelson in his initial response to the news. (IN, NbelfN, PFC)

The RUC discovered a cache of petrol bombs in the predominantly loyalist Tullyally estate in Derry. (IN)

It was reported that the names of two of the lawyers representing the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday had been found on a loyalist hit list. On of them, who did not wish to be named, said: "This is a very worrying development in view of the murders of Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. It has to be taken seriously and it seems remarkable that a lawyer can be branded in this way simply for standing up for human rights." (DN)

St Nicholas's Catholic Church in Carrickfergus was damaged during a petrol bomb attack. (IN, RUC)

July 6, Friday. Nationalists in the Mourne Park estate in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, asked the Parades' Commission to prevent the Red Hand Defenders flute band from marching near their estate, according to the Derry Journal. Loyalists have filed for five separate parades in Newtownstewart between July 8 and 12. In the past, the Red Hand Defenders flute band has been associated with sectarian abuse of Mourne Park residents. (DJ)

Derry Ulster Unionist councillor Andrew Davidson called on the DUP to be on its guard and not to use violent language likely to incite hatred in the run up to Drumcree. Cllr Davidson warned that politicians using such language often prepared the ground for sectarian violence. He likened the actions of the DUP in the past to Hitler's incitement of Germans against Jewish people. (DJ)

The Derry Journal warned that it had been given information that half a dozen members of the British ultra-nationalist Combat 18 (the name is a cryptic reference to Adolf Hitler) would be travelling to Derry to take part in the Orange Twelfth celebrations. It is understood that the neo-nazis have links to the UDA/UFF. (DJ)

The Parades Commission ruled that the main body of the Orange Order parade planned for Derry city on the 12th must remain in the Waterside, and that only the Fountain based lodges could march from the Fountain directly across Craigavon Bridge to the Waterside, avoiding the city centre. Nationalist politicians and residents welcomed the decision. (IN)

An Orange Hall on the Coleraine Road, in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, was damaged in an arson attack in the early hours of the morning. (IN)

July 7, Saturday. The funeral took place of Antrim teenager Ciaran Cummings, murdered by the Red Hand Defenders on July 4 (see above). (IN, NL)

Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside refused to comment on reports that he had supplied the information that led David Trimble to claim that the murder of Ciaran Cummings had been carried out by republicans, and that it was drug related instead of sectarian. Trimble had already admitted that the advice he had been given had been wrong. (IN)

Portadown Orange Lodge claimed that it was powerless to stop loyalist paramilitaries from gathering at Drumcree in the run up to Drumcree Sunday, and that they could not be held responsible for the actions of everyone who turned up. They also welcomed any support, and said that the Parades Commission must bear responsibility for anything that happened. The statement, by local spokesman David Jones, was condemned by GRRC spokesperson, Breandan MacCionnaith, who said: "The Orange Order has to get real and face up to reality - they can't welcome everyone to Drumcree. What they are actually doing is giving an open invitation to paramilitaries of every hue on the loyalist side to go along, they have to take some responsibility." Local SDLP MLA, Brid Rogers, said: "It is difficult for the nationalist community in Portadown to take seriously any commitment to peaceful demonstrations from Harold Gracey and the Orange Order in Portadown whilst they continue to condone the presence of paramilitary organisations on the hill. Mr Jones's remarks that he welcomes their support is a further example of the double standards of someone who will not engage in dialogue with residents on the Garvaghy Road because of a terrorist past yet he is quite happy to associate with people who have a terrorist present." It was also revealed that 1600 extra British soldiers had been moved into the Portadown area in advance of any trouble, and that Security minister Jane Kennedy had expressed serious concerns about violence linked to the Drumcree dispute. (IN)

Church of Ireland Primate Robin Eames condemned the appearance of UFF and UDA supporters at Drumcree. Presbyterian Moderator Alastair Dunlop also said he was "deeply concerned" about the potential for trouble in Portadown if paramilitary groups joined in the protests. (IN)

It was reported that the RUC had leading loyalist member Gary Smyth under surveillance at the time he allegedly made a hoax bomb call to the Catholic Holy Cross primary school. The information emerged during a bail application by Smyth whose early release licence had earlier been revoked by the Secretary of State because of his alleged involvement in the trouble in north Belfast in June. (IN)

Nationalist politicians condemned the Parades Commission decision to allow two Orange Order marches to pass close to Catholic areas in Belfast. SDLP councillor Martin Morgan said of the parade that was to be allowed to pass Ardoyne shops: "These parades have the potential to create massive unrest in north and west Belfast. The Orange Order have no control over the people who attend these marches, and do not try to exert any control over them." Springfield Residents spokesperson Frances McAuley said that the Parades commission had "capitulated to the threat of loyalist violence." (IN)

July 8, Sunday. The home of a Catholic priest in Ballyclare was attacked by loyalist petrol bombers in the early hours of the morning. It was the second time the house has been attacked by petrol bombers in less than a year. (IN)

It was reported that the UFF had said that if either nationalists or security forces injured any Orangemen at Drumcree then they would take to the streets in solidarity with the blocked parade. (SI)

The Drumcree parade in Portadown passed off relatively quietly after the Orange Order were again prevented from parading along the Garvaghy Road. Marchers had made a verbal protest at the security barrier, during which shouts of "Fenian lovers" were directed at the RUC. Local Sinn Fein MLA, Dara O'Hagan, said it appeared that the protest was fizzling out: "It is certainly much more low key than in previous years. I certainly think a large section of people within the Unionist community don't want anything to do with what is happening at Drumcree." (IN)

GRRC spokesperson Breandan MacCionnaith said that he believed that an Orange Order parade along the Garvaghy Road at some stage in the future was "still possible". He continued: "If there is going to be a genuine engagement in the current process with Brian Currin [the South African mediator] it is going to have to be from both sides. For us that means considering the possibility of a march on the Garvaghy Road. For the Orange Order it is going to have to consider the possibility of no march on the Garvaghy Road." (IN)

Minor trouble was reported in Portadown and Belfast, with a crowd of about 700 gathering on Drumcree Hill, where a number of petrol bombs were thrown, and a car hijacked and set alight in the nearby Corcrain area. In Belfast a suspicious device was found on the Ligoniel road in north Belfast, and loyalists attempted to block a number of roads in the city. (IN, NL, RUC)

Loyalists were accused of causing a hoax bomb scare that disrupted a parade in Maghera, Co Derry. Three hoax devices were found along the route of the Orange Order parade. Sinn Fein MLA John Kelly said that he did not believe that republicans were involved in disrupting the parade. He said: "Given the peaceful history of this parade in the past I would also question why there were elaborate bomb hoaxes that disrupted the parade." Meanwhile, a controversial Orange Order parade in Keady, Co Armagh, passed off peacefully. (IN, NL)

Loyalists attacked St Nicholas's Catholic Church in Carrickfergus for the second time in less than a week. The Church had only re-opened six months ago after being completely destroyed in an earlier sectarian attack (see above). (IN)

A Catholic family had a lucky escape when their home in the Rosemount area of Armagh was petrol bombed by loyalists. (AN)

A number of vehicles were set alight by loyalists in the Kilwee Industrial estate in Dunmurry. Local sources say that those responsible came from the nearby loyalist Seymour Hill estate. Two buses and a minibus were burned in the grounds of Lagan College Integrated School. (AN, RUC)

July 9, Monday. It was reported that nationalist residents of the Fisherwick estate in Ballymena had voluntarily removed tricolours from the estate. The move came after a loyalist group had picketed the estate (see above). (IN)

A pipe bomb exploded near the home of a 71-year-old woman in Limavady. A neighbour had picked up the device, before throwing it away after realising what it was. It exploded as he threw it away. Loyalists have been blamed for the attack.. The man who discovered the device had lost a relative in the INLA bombing of the Dropping Well pub in Ballykelly in 1982 when 17 people died. (IN)

The discovery of a cache of petrol bombs at the Hart Memorial School, in the loyalist Charles Street area of Portadown, prompted fears that loyalists were planning fresh violence in the run up to the Twelfth. A number of planks with nails protruding from them were also found, which were believed to have been made to puncture tyres on RUC and army landrovers. Two crates of partially prepared petrol bombs were also found in the loyalist Edgarstown area. (IN, RUC)

A Sinn Fein councillor was confronted by loyalist youths as she attempted to paint over sectarian graffiti in Glengormley, north Belfast. The youths, one of whom was wielding a hammer, confronted Briege Meehan as she was painting out the slogan "We burnt the chapel", signed with the initials PFJ, which purport to stand for "Protestants For Justice". The slogan is an obvious reference to a recent loyalist arson attack on the nearby St Bernard's Catholic Church. Councillor Meehan said: "The slogans were blatantly offensive, they praised the burning of Catholic Churches and had a smiley face painted beside them. In the past two months Catholics in Glengormley have been subjected to an organised campaign of sectarianism." She also warned nationalists in the area to be vigilant in light of the ongoing campaign, and referred to an incident in which loyalists attempted to abduct Catholic youths on the Hightown Road: "These latest incidents involving loyalist men driving around Glengormley in a white car are a cause of serious concern. A 15-year-old Catholic boy had to run for his life after a carload of loyalists using walkie-talkies chased him down the Hightown road. It was only good luck that prevented the loyalists from killing him so I am appealing for all nationalists to be vigilant in the coming weeks." (IN, AN)

A Portuguese man needed hospital treatment after he was attacked in Dungannon. The attack was regarded as being racist, and was the latest in a number of attacks on Portuguese nationals in the Co Tyrone town. (IN)

Two pipe bombs exploded in a car outside a GAA club in Armoy, Co Antrim. No one was injured. A suspicious device outside a GAA club in Ballycastle was declared a hoax. (AN RUC)

Around 300 loyalists gathered on the hill at Drumcree in the evening. A number of petrol bombs, bottles, stones and fireworks were thrown at the security forces. (IN)

Protestant residents of the Suffolk estate in west Belfast held a protest to highlight what they say is inadequate action to stop sectarian attacks on their estate. About 50 residents gathered on the Black's Road entrance to the estate. One said: "We are a small enclave in the middle of Catholic west Belfast and we feel extremely vulnerable when attacks like the ones in recent days take place. The majority of the people who live at the interface are elderly and are obviously afraid for their safety." The protesters said that they would now be asking for the wall that separates them from the nearby Catholic estates to be raised. Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Gerard O'Neill, said that Catholics living in the area were regularly being attacked by "a hard core of loyalists" living in the estate. (AN)

July 10, Tuesday. RUC officers in riot gear were brought in to separate rival crowds at a sectarian interface in north Belfast. Local Sinn Fein councillor Gerard Brophy said that about 50 loyalists from the Tiger's Bay area had gathered on the Limestone Road at around 7.00pm. Nationalists confronted the crowd and a stand-off ensued. (IN)

Three Catholic homes were paint bombed in west Belfast in the early hours of the morning. It was revealed that the homes in Barrack Street, including that of Belfast SDLP councillor Margaret Walsh, had just been redecorated following previous attacks. One of the families involved said that they would now be leaving the area. (IN, AN)

An elderly and disabled Catholic woman, Mrs Geraldine Ewing, died just hours after loyalists forced their way into her Lisburn home and ordered her and her family to leave or be "burnt out." A local SDLP councillor said: " I am positive from my contacts with Mrs Ewing's relatives that the family were living in fear. The invasion of their home was the final straw for them. They have first suffered the indignity of having to leave their home, and now for their mother to die is too much for any family to bear." Mrs Ewing's brother said: "Geraldine had some heart trouble and the loyalist threats caused the heart attack, she was naturally very stressed by what had happened. If the loyalists hadn't have come and smashed the house up and told her to get out she would still be alive." A spokesperson for the Housing Executive confirmed that the family had previously asked for their home to be secured after intimidation from loyalists. (IN, AN)

A spokesperson for Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), a unionist victims group, accused another loyalist group of going too far by posting pictures of Catholic-owned houses and Catholic schools on its website, claiming that it proves that Catholics were never discriminated against in the north of Ireland. Sinn Fein also condemned the site, describing it as "sinister." Mid-Ulster MLA John Kelly said: "Historically, there has been no question that Catholics were at an disadvantage since the inception of the six county state…This group's site seems to have connotations with the fundamental political religious types like the Ku Klux Klan and there is a racist tinge to it all." (IN)

SDLP Mayor of Coleraine called on the Secretary of State to revoke early release licences after a spate of pipe bomb attacks in counties Derry and Antrim. Meanwhile, two hoax pipe bombs were left at homes in Kilrea, Co Derry. (IN)

The leadership of the UFF released a statement saying that it no longer supported the Good Friday Agreement, but claimed that it's ceasefire remained intact. The PFC put out the following news update when the statement was released:

UFF/UDA withdraw support from Good Friday agreement

2.00pm 10 July 2001

In a newsflash just carried on BBC Radio Foyle the Ulster Freedom Fighters, (cover name for the largest loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Defence Association) announced that it had withdrawn support for the Good Friday Agreement. The statement comes as the larger pro-agreement parties and the two governments conduct negotiations in Shropshire, England in an attempt to resolve the impasse caused by the resignation of First Minister and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble. The two smaller loyalist political parties who represent loyalist paramilitaries, the PUP (UVF) and the UDP (UFF/UDA), were only invited to the first day of the talks process. They and the other smaller parties returned to Belfast last night. This led to much speculation of discontent among the ranks of the smaller loyalist parties. For their part the Executive of the PUP are expected to issue a statement soon on their future in the talks process. PUP member David Ervine has recommended that the party withdraw. The fact that neither party were even involved in the current process in any meaningful way is clear evidence that loyalist decommmisioning is not even on the agenda despite the daily reports of pipebomb, petrol bomb and other attacks by loyalist groups.

In the past months the UFF/UDA has witnessed deep divisions with a number of units believed to be actively involved in sectarian attacks along with the LVF and the Red Hand Defenders. The latter group claimed responsibility for the murder of a young Catholic man, Ciaran Cummings, in Antrim last week. The UFF/UDA, directed by RUC Special Branch and the British Army Force Research Unit, was responsible for the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989. The UDA was not banned until 1992, over twenty years after the group began its assassination campaign against Catholics. In the statement issued today the organisation stated that it remained on ceasefire. However there is overwhelming evidence that units of the paramilitary group have broken their ceasefire some time ago. (PFC)

The Parades Commission announced that it was standing by its decision to allow two Orange Order parades to pass close to nationalist areas in Belfast (see above, July 7). One of the parades was due to pass through Ardoyne, and local councillor Margaret McClenaghan claimed that Parades Commission restrictions had been broken during previous marches in the area. She said: "Several weeks ago a similar Orange parade travelled the same route, only to be followed by a week of loyalist violence. The Tour of the North parade brought pipe bombs, nightly attacks on nationalists and children being prevented from attending school by UDA thugs. No matter what determination is made on them in terms of their behaviour and conduct they break every one of these determinations and have been doing so for the last number of years." (IN, NBelfN))

British Home Secretary David Blunkett expressed serious concerns about public safety should plastic bullets ever be used in Britain. Speaking in the wake of the riots in Bradford he said: "Although plastic baton rounds and CS gas are available…I am interested in how we can use methods that are less of a risk than plastic baton rounds, which are available on the British mainland, but about which I have doubts in terms of public safety." The statement highlighted the complete contradiction surrounding the use of plastic bullets. By this stage, during three separate periods of intense rioting in England, not one plastic bullet had been fired, yet over thirty had been fired in the north of Ireland. By the end of the week this figure had increased to over eighty. Compare the figures - Bradford: 164 police officers injured, 0 plastic bullets fired. Ardoyne: 100 RUC injured, 48 plastic bullets fired. A spokesperson for the PFC, speaking in reaction to Blunkett's statement, said: "We wholeheartedly welcome the fact that there is, and always has been, a de facto ban on plastic bullets in Britain, and that no one over there will be killed by them. But plastic bullets are a proven lethal weapon that should not be used anywhere. They have no place in our society and should be banned now, before anyone else is killed." (IoS, PFC)

Residents in south Derry were warned to be alert after devices were found at St Patrick's community hall in Desertmartin and at a business premise in Maghera. Elsewhere, a car bomb was left by loyalists at Cargin, near Ballymena, but was made safe by an British Army bomb disposal team. It was later revealed that the bomb, about which no warnings were given for several hours after it had been planted, only failed to explode because of a faulty timing mechanism. The incident followed earlier attacks on nationalists in Ballycastle, Rasharkin and Ahoghill, all in Co Antrim. A number of GAA grounds were also checked after a call purporting to be from the 'South Londonderry Protestant Volunteers' claimed devices were left at the grounds. Loyalists also tried to block the Limestone Road in north Belfast. (IN)

The RUC found 1200 empty bottles hidden near a bonfire in the loyalist Ballybeen estate in Belfast. It is believed the bottles were intended for petrol bombs. (IN)

July 11, Wednesday. A Co Derry Orange band, the Burntollet Loyal Sons of Ulster, announced that it had agreed not to parade through the mixed village of Claudy on the twelfth morning. Previous marches through the village had resulted in trouble and complaints by nationalist residents. (IN, PFC)

The RUC released a fresh appeal for information about the murder of Catholic teenager Ciaran Cummings. They said they were searching for a black motorbike used in the shooting. (IN, RUC)

Travel agents in the north-west reported an increase in last minute bookings in anticipation of trouble surrounding the twelfth parades. Several agents reported a marked increase immediately prior to the release of the Parades commission decision to bar the Orange Order from parading in Derry city centre (see above, July 2). (IN)

The Orange Order reaffirmed its position of not talking to the Parades Commission. This is despite the fact that a number of senior Orangemen had recently met with the Commission as members of Craigavon Borough Council. A former senior member of the Orange Order branded their stance in relation to the Parades Commission as a sham. The Reverend Brian Kenneway, former convenor of the Order's education committee, said: "Their present behaviour is exposing them to the accusation of hypocrisy because people are talking to the Parades Commission - and are doing so as Orangemen. There is no doubt in the popular mind as to the truth of that and it therefore makes a total sham of the present policy of grand Lodge - which has been clearly articulated in the media - that they are not only not recognising the Parades commission, bat are not to have any contact with the Parades commission either directly or indirectly through mediators." The Orange Order also announced that it intended taking legal action against the Parades Commission on the basis that parade restrictions imposed were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Legal experts have already suggested that it is very unlikely that, even if the Orange Order reached the European Court on this issue, it is very unlikely that the court will rule in their favour. (IN, PFC)

Petrol bombers attacked the home of two elderly Protestant sisters in Madrid Street, east Belfast, in the early hours of the morning. It was the fifth recent attack on their home in the interface area. International observers who contacted the PFC denied that it had been a sectarian attack carried out by nationalists from the nearby Short Strand area. (IN)

Trouble broke out in Castlederg and Newtownstewart after 11th night bonfires. Sources in Castlederg claim that trouble started after a loyalist bandsman assaulted a Catholic youth, while in Newtownstewart the windows of a Catholic-owned bar were broken by a crowd of 'up to 90' loyalists. (IN)

Suspect devices found under two cars in Harmin Drive in Glengormley were declared to be hoaxes. (RUC)

July 12, Thursday. The PFC released the following news updates covering the 11th, 12th & 13th of July:

PFC News Update 11.30am 12/7/01

The Pat Finucane Centre will be providing news updates today as the annual processions of the Orange Order get under way at locations throughout the North. Here in Derry only the local Lodge has been allowed to cross the river Foyle from the West Bank and the expected 10,000 Orangemen who will travel to the city will be confined to the Waterside. The situation at present is as follows: The local lodge of the Orange Order, accompanied by a band, marched down Wapping lane from the Fountain as Planned. They then turned up Carlisle road in an attempt to gain access to the City centre. At the RUC line they were reminded of the terms of the Parades' Commission's determination. They handed in a letter of protest and stood playing music for some 15 minutes before marching several times around the roundabout at the end of Craigavon Bridge. They then attempted to march up Abercorn Road where they were met by another RUC cordon. The situation at present is that the Orangemen are standing still in protest at the roundabout, blocking access to the centre from the top deck of the bridge. The "cross-community" statue at the roundabout has been decorated with loyalist flags. The situation is described as "intensifying".

On the Ormeau Rd in Belfast a massive security barrier has been erected to prevent Orangemen parading down the largely nationalist Lower Ormeau area. In North Belfast there are a number of potential flashpoints following the decision of the Parades Commission to allow parades in a number of interface areas.

Overnight there was serious rioting in the loyalist Corcrain Rd area of Portadown. According to the RUC blast and petrol bombs were thrown. Six plastic bullets were fired though there is no independent confirmation of these statistics. In the loyalist Lower Shankill area of Belfast members of the UDA/UFF staged a show of strength at a bonfire. A group of four masked men formed up and fired shots in the air. It was claimed that the UVF also staged a show of strength in another area of Belfast. In Ardoyne trouble erupted after loyalist youths stoned houses in the area. According to the North Belfast News a running battle developed for some two hours before the RUC/British Army moved in.

PFC News Update 5pm 12/7/01

At present the situation throughout the North is described as quiet but tense. Reports are however coming in of a shooting in the loyalist Mount Vernon area in North Belfast. It is not believed the attack was sectarian. The Mount Vernon area is known as a UVF stronghold.

Trouble erupted on the Newtownards Road/Short Strand interface in east Belfast at around 2pm involving a group of apparently drunken loyalist youths. A number of Catholic owned houses in Strand Walk had their windows broken. Following some stone throwing the youths were moved back by the RUC. The situation there is now quiet.

Lurgan, Portadown and the Lower Ormeau in Belfast are all reported quiet as local people await the return of lodges and bands from each of the 19 venues throughout the North. The bridge on the Lower Ormeau remains closed with a large security barrier erected at 8am this morning by the British Army. Orangemen from the Ballynafeigh Lodge staged a brief protest at the barrier earlier today.

In Craigavon this morning there were a number of complaints regarding the behaviour of Royal Irish Regiment patrols in the nationalist Meadowbrook estate. In one incident reported to us stones were thrown at a foot patrol. While this was happening a member of the patrol is alleged to have death threated a local man who was standing in his own front yard.

The protest by a local lodge of the Orange Order on the city side end of the bridge in Derry ended at lunchtime with the Lodge declining to join other Orangemen for the main procession on the other side of the river Foyle. There have been a number of minor incidents between the RUC/British Army and nationalist residents in the Gobnascale area of the Waterside in Derry. Members of the PFC witnessed high-speed forays into the estate by groups of RUC landrovers. At one stage the patrols were travelling so fast that the rear doors swung open and riot equipment fell out on the road. One petrol bomb was thrown according to reliable sources on the ground. The RUC have claimed that several were thrown. Subsequently a large force of RUC/British Army occupied the estate, ostensibly to search for petrol bombs. They have since withdrawn.

Meanwhile the Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters, has called on the unionist parties to withdraw from the crisis talks due to reconvene in England tomorrow. Mr Saulters, who once called the British PM Tony Blair a 'turncoat' because he had attended a Catholic Church, was speaking at an Orange rally in Benburb Co Tyrone. The Orange Order frequently attempts to portray itself as an apolitical cultural organisation. In reality the speeches delivered at the annual twelfth parades are anything but apolitical.

PFC News Update 22.30pm 12/7/01

The latest information is that Derry remains quiet tonight. Serious trouble has been reported in other areas of the North.

In North Belfast a number of civilians and RUC officers were injured in confrontations between nationalists in the Ardoyne area and the RUC. The trouble erupted shortly before an Orange parade was due to return through the area. Water cannon and 10 plastic bullets were used and running battles took place in a number of streets. Local people report that the RUC baton charged a peaceful protest on the Crumlin Road and drove people into sidestreets. As of 22.00 hours tonight serious rioting continues in the Brompton Park area of Ardoyne. It has been reported to us that the RUC are monitoring the Accident and Emergency Departments at the Mater and Royal Victoria Hospitals in an apparent attempt to arrest those who report injuries that may have been sustained in riots.

Earlier in the day the main Orange parade in Belfast was temporarily halted in Shaftsbury Square when fighting broke out between loyalist bandsmen from rival factions. Loyalist bands tend to support one or other of the main loyalist paramilitary groups. This has led to trouble in the past between bands supportive of the UDA and the rival UVF.

This evening an Orange parade was prevented from returning to east Belfast along the Newtownards Road when serious trouble developed near the Short Strand/ Newtownards Road interface. Water cannon were also used in this area. A local woman was taken to hospital following an assault by the RUC. There had been trouble in east Belfast earlier in the day. At 9.50pm this evening a car came down Mountpottinger Link into the nationalist Short Strand area. The window was rolled down and a number of shots were fired into the air before the vehicle drove off at speed.

In Ballycastle Co Antrim rioting also broke along the route of an Orange parade during protests against the march. There are as yet no reports of injuries or arrests.

There was over two hours of rioting in a nationalist area of Lurgan this evening. The trouble began, according to local people, following a series of provocations from members of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR). RIR patrols appeared on the fringes of the Kilwilke estate, behaving very provocatively and singing the 'Sash', a loyalist song.

PFC News Update 11.30am 13/7/01

As expected serious rioting continued in North Belfast into the early hours of the morning. An undetermined number of civilians were injured by plastic bullets and in RUC baton charges. As reported in the 11pm news update last night the RUC arrested people at the Accident and Emergency Department at the Mater Hospital. According to the RUC over 113 officers were injured, one seriously. The latter was struck with a pickaxe handle. 48 plastic bullets were fired and, according to the RUC, some 250 petrol, paint and acid bombs were thrown. A number of buildings were damaged and vehicles were set on fire. Sinn Fein councillors claim that the trouble was provoked by the RUC and local SDLP Councillor Martin Morgan accused the RUC of 'heavy handed policing' and brutality.

In Derry a group of loyalists who had been drinking in the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall attacked Catholic homes in nearby Fahan St which leads into the Bogside. Windows were broken in three houses in the incident, which began at around 8.30pm. A young mother was alone in one house with her newborn baby when missiles were thrown at both the upstairs and downstairs windows. Occupants of the adjoining house had a narrow escape when the attackers tried unsuccessfully to kick the door in. Following an assault on a passing taxi driver a large number of taxis from local firms converged on the scene and drove the attackers off, one of whom sustained injuries. The RUC then intervened (according to householders who we have talked to this morning the RUC were in position close by during the entire episode) and were attacked by youths from the nationalist Bogside. Intermittent stone throwing ensued for several hours during which petrol bombs were thrown. When the Fire Brigade attempted to put out a fire in a hijacked vehicle in the Rossville St area they were reportedly stoned by nationalist youths. In the Waterside a community hall was completely gutted in an arson attack in the Clooney area. As yet it is unclear who was responsible. Petrol bombs were also thrown at Clondermot High School, which lies between the nationalist Gobnascale area and the loyalist Irish St area. The school would be perceived as being Protestant.

PFC Commentary

A Tale of Two Cities

At 11am yesterday morning a local lodge of the Orange Order marched out of the Fountain estate on the West Bank of Derry accompanied by a band and supporters. They were angry at the decision of the Parades Commission to ban their parade from the city centre. As the lodge reached Carlisle Square, a key intersection for traffic between the west and east bank of the river the lodge staged a protest. They attempted to parade up Carlisle Road, which leads into the city centre, but were stopped by the RUC. In a surprise move they then attempted to parade up Abercorn Road, a residential street which leads into the nationalist Bogside. They then paraded around the roundabout at Carlisle Square a number of times before announcing that they would not join their fellow brethren on the other side of the river but would instead remain at this key traffic junction effectively throwing traffic into and out of the city into chaos. Fair enough. People have a right to protest even if the protest was illegal and violated the determination issued by the Parades Commission. The RUC made the wise decision to allow the protest to continue. Nationalists ignored the stand-off even though one of the most important arterial routes in the city was blocked by Orangemen who had in addition attempted to parade into the Bogside. For a large catchment area on the West Bank this meant for instance that the journey time to the only regional A&E unit at Altnagelvin Hospital was more than doubled. The stand-off ended peacefully after 11/2 hours. A tale of one city.

In North Belfast last night nationalists in the Ardoyne area staged a peaceful protest at the Ardoyne shops in protest at the Parades Commission decision to allow an Orange lodge to parade through a nationalist area. A peaceful protest had already been held that morning during the outgoing parade. Supporters of the lodge had been heard to chant slogans in support of loyalist paramilitaries. When a small group of residents began their protest on the Crumlin Road last night the RUC made a decision which would allow no room for compromise, negotiation or peaceful resolution. Within minutes the RUC moved in with water cannon, batons, fists and boots. Stewards attempting to keep a lid on the protest were the first targets. The operation was described by local SDLP councillor Martin Morgan as brutal, insensitive and heavy handed. It also sparked off several hours of sustained rioting during which civilians and RUC alike were injured. According to RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan the violence in North Belfast last night was co-ordinated and orchestrated. We agree. The violence in north Belfast last night was co-ordinated and orchestrated…by his senior officers within the RUC. The decision to use force to clear the Crumlin Road was surely one of the most irresponsible and incompetent decisions of recent years. The RUC will argue that they were enforcing a determination of the Parades Commission. Yet the RUC in Derry quite correctly decided not to enforce the Parades Commission determination which would have forbidden local Orangemen from blocking a key junction in the city hours before the events in Ardoyne. In any case the RUC in Ardoyne have not exactly earned the trust of the local community in respect of guaranteeing lawful right of passage. During the final two weeks of school term Catholic primary school children in the area were prevented from taking the only direct route to their school by UDA supporters. On that occasion the RUC blocked the children not the protesters. A tale of two cities. (PFC)

A man hit by a plastic bullet during rioting between loyalists and RUC in Portadown on the 11th night was reported to be in a stable condition in hospital. (IN)

A Catholic couple said they had a lucky escape from a loyalist gang who tried to attack them with a hatchet in the Short Strand area of Belfast in the early hours of the morning. A car had stopped beside them as they were walking home, and three men got out and chased them. The attackers fled when a group of people nearby intervened. (IN)

July 14, Saturday. UDP chairman John White, insisted that there was no threat of violence emanating from the UFF, despite their recent withdrawal of support from the Good Friday Agreement. (AN)

A house in the Short Strand area of Belfast was attacked with paint bombs in the early hours of the morning. A number of windows in the house were broken but no injuries were reported. (IN)

A pipe bomb, thrown from the loyalist Milewater Road in north Belfast, exploded in the garden of a Catholic home in Park End Street. Loyalist gangs were also accused of paint-bombing Catholic homes near North Queen Street. (IN)

The head of the Orange Order in Derry said he would consider renewing exploratory talks with the City Centre Initiative over future parades. His statement came after rumours of an attempted coup against the leadership after their refusal to enter into dialogue led to the Orange Order being banned from parading in Derry city centre on the 12th. Talks facilitated by the City Centre Initiative have led to a decrease in tension surrounding Apprentice Boys parades in the city, and are also expected to reach a solution around the proposed Royal Black Preceptory parade planned for the city at the end of August. (IN)

A north Belfast trauma support group hit out at statutory bodies who, it said, were failing to provide proper care for schoolchildren affected by the recent loyalist blockade of their north Belfast school and the violence that followed it. Survivors Of Trauma co-ordinator Brendan Bradley said that the human costs of such events can include serious depression and trauma. It was also revealed that pupils from the school had had to be prescribed the powerful sedative Diazepam (Valium). The mother of one 11-year-old pupil at the school, said: "All of the children have been in a terrible state over the last number of weeks. My own daughter just spends most of her time crying. After everything that happened she is even panicking when a car drives up the street in case someone is attacked…It is heartbreaking for all the families to have to watch their children being traumatised since this whole thing began." (AN)

Sinn Fein councillor Gerard Brophy condemned the actions of an RUC patrol, which, he said, did nothing to prevent loyalists from stoning Catholic homes on Duncairn Avenue in north Belfast. In the latest incident, loyalists from Tiger's Bay threw stones and bottles over the peaceline, forcing a young mother and her son to flee their home. A middle-aged woman had to be treated for shock after loyalists smashed her windows for a second time. The Belfast councillor said: "The crowd doing the stone throwing could still be heard when the RUC arrived and yet there was no attempt made to stop them. There was no attempt to gather evidence and the whole incident seemed to me to be treated lightly…This is part of an ongoing UDA campaign to drive Catholics from their homes in this part of north Belfast." (AN)

A Tiger's bay community worker, Eddie McClean, blamed republicans for the recent riots in north Belfast, saying that it was an attempt to "turn north Belfast green." (AN)

A Belfast taxi driver narrowly escaped a loyalist gang after he was asked by a fare to drive to Lisburn. When the taxi arrived in Lisburn it was surrounded by a loyalist mob but the driver managed to escape unharmed. (AN)

Tourists in Belfast city centre told of the fear they had experienced over the 12th in the city. One said: "I was quite scared coming here. It seemed like it was a really nice town but this time it hasn't been as friendly. It's the worst time for anybody to come. All the shops have been shut and I could hear all the marching on the twelfth and the guns going off on the eleventh night." (IN)

A blast bomb was found and defused close to Drumcree Bridge. Later in the day, the British army removed the security barrier at the bridge. (ST, RUC)

July 15, Sunday. The home of a Catholic family in Armoy, Co Antrim, was targeted in a loyalist pipe bomb attack. One bomb exploded in the back garden of their house, while a second, which failed to detonate, was thrown through the kitchen window. The family of seven, who escaped without injury, live in a predominantly Protestant village. The family said they would now have to consider moving for the sake of their children. (IN)

Garvaghy Road spokesperson Breandan MacCionnaith said that the Orange Order had access to an "on-off switch on street violence." Following a relatively quiet Drumcree week, he said: "We are relieved that the protest passed off relatively quietly but the fact is that both this year, and in 1999, the Orange Order showed that it can control what happens on the streets. They must have access to an on-off switch when it comes to street violence." It was also reported that a total of 33 people had been arrested for public order offences at Drumcree since this year's protest began. (IN)


AN:   Andersonstown News
BBC:    BBC radio and television news, BBC online, Radio Foyle
CW:   Local community workers
DJ:   Derry Journal
DN:    Derry News
IN:   Irish News
IT:   Irish Times
LS:   Londonderry Sentinel
NBelfN:   North Belfast News
PFC:    Pat Finucane Centre
RM:   RM Distribution
RUC:   RUC website
SI:   Sunday Independent

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