The following list of sectarian incidents and attacks is from 01 through 30 June 2001. 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.
North Belfast: Because of the intensity of incidents in the Ardoyne Road/Glenbryn interface we are dedicating a separate section to incidents in north Belfast at the end of our usual day by day log.
Sectarian incidents and attacks June 2001
June 2, Saturday
The Andersonstown News reported an accusation by Sinn Fein that election workers in the Lagan Valley constituency were intimidated, and that Sinn Fein election posters were removed. The paper also reported that nationalist residents of Dunmurry had accused the RUC of turning a blind eye to the activities of loyalists. One local, who was using his camcorder to record a group of loyalists, captured on film two RUC landrovers driving past cudgel wielding loyalists without taking any action. The RUC claimed they had only two officers in an unmarked car in the area at the time. Residents have said they will hand the video in question over to the Police Ombudsman. (AN)
June 3, Sunday
A woman and her two young children escaped injury in a pipe bomb attack on their home in Loughanill Park in Coleraine. They were upstairs in the house when the device exploded downstairs at 11.00pm. In another incident, a number of shots were fired through the window of a house at Newbridge Park in the town. One shot was fired through a bedroom window, and then a number through a downstairs window while attempts were made to force open the front door. The man in the house suffered cuts from flying glass, and both he and his wife were treated for shock. (RUC)
June 4, Monday
A loyalist gang attacked cars belonging to a Catholic family in west Belfast, causing £2000 worth of damage. The householder said that his home is attacked by loyalists from the Village area every year: quot;Every summer as the marching season approaches we live in fear of our home being attacked. The attacks are usually centred around the month of July, but this year they seem to have started early. We have had the windows of the house broken countless times and every car we have ever owned has been smashed up by these thugs. In this attack both my wife’s and my son’s car were parked in the driveway and both were smashed up with baseball bats. The men who carried out this attack were backed up by a crowd of masked and armed men who were waiting at the other side of the road. I believe that they were trying to lure people out of their homes and then stage an attack on local residents." The man was scathing of the security force response to the attacks. Referring to sophisticated army surveillance equipment in the area he said: "I would like to ask them why they seem unable to use this equipment to catch loyalists who are attacking our homes on a regular basis." (AN)
June 5, Tuesday
The names of 115 alleged republicans were found stored on computer disks in an east Belfast man’s home, Belfast Crown Court heard. The information was revealed during a bail application by Geoffrey Aiken, who is facing charges of possession of information useful to terrorists. The words "good stuff" had been written on the disks. Aiken was granted bail. (IN)
An Orange Order service may have prompted arsonists to target a Presbyterian Church, it was claimed. New Mills Presbyterian Church, near Portadown, was destroyed by fire just 24 hours after an Orange parade and service was held at the church. At the same time, Drumcree supporters were slammed for the "shameful desecration" of a Catholic church and graveyard. St Patrick’s Church at Ballyargan, also near Portadown, was attacked by vandals who painted sectarian slogans, such as "Roll On Drumcree 2001" and "Power to the Prods", as well as LVF and UFF slogans. It was the latest in a series of attacks on the church, which was fire-bombed six years ago. (IN, RUC)
Two men were arrested in the greater Belfast area by detectives investigating the murder of Rosemary Nelson. The two men, aged 41 and 43, were questioned in Gough Barracks, Armagh, about ‘serious terrorist offences." (IN)
It was reported that Orangemen in Portadown had re-entered the mediation process aimed at resolving the stand off. South African mediator Brian Currin announced that documents were now being exchanged between the two sides. "I have handed a document to the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition who have in turn undertaken to respond in writing as soon as possible," he said. Residents’ spokesperson Breandan MacCionnaith said they would be studying the document carefully but were disappointed that the range Order had made no comment on the document they submitted in February. (IN)
The Orange Order claimed that ‘nightly assaults’ by republicans on the Fountain Estate in Derry were aimed at forcing Protestants from the city’s west bank. The claim was carried in the Order’s newspaper, The Orange Standard. (DJ)
June 6, Wednesday
A bar at Frosses Road in Cloughmills was damaged by a petrol bomb in the early hours of the morning. Less than an hour later a car was set alight in the Fairway area of Larne. The RUC said they had not ruled out a sectarian motive for either attack. (IN, RUC)
It was announced that Greater Belfast coroner John Lecky would initiate a review of the inquest system in the light of the European Court judgement. The judgement found, among other matters, serious failings in the inquest system where shoot-to-kill or collusion between security forces and loyalists was alleged. (IN)
Sinn Fein Education Minister Martin McGuinness and his wife were warned that they were being targeted by loyalist paramilitaries. Other party members, including Michelle Gildernew (elected MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone on the 9th of June), Mitchell McLaughlin and Cathal Crumley also received warnings, which simply said that the persons details were in the hands of loyalist paramilitaries and that they should take precautions. McLaughlin said: "As follows the normal pattern the RUC refused to disclose any other information despite being asked as to where the information was discovered, the identity and affiliation of the individual and whether any arrests had been made." Another of those visited, Strabane IRSP spokesperson Willie Gallagher, said he would seek a judicial review if the RUC failed to elaborate on the information. "We can’t assess the risk without proper clarification," he stated. (IN)
A number of weapons, including an assault rifle with a fully loaded magazine, two revolvers, two pistols and a quantity of ammunition and flares were discovered in the Tandragee Road area of Portadown during an RUC search. A number of explosive devices were also found during a search of a disused garage at Shore Road in Newtownabbey. The railway line between Belfast and Larne was closed during the search operation. An RUC Assistant Chief Constable said: "It’s too early in the investigation to be certain, but from the design and make-up of the bombs we are quite satisfied that these are loyalist devices. (RUC)
June 8, Friday
A number of shots were fired at two houses in Heron Way, in the Waterside area of Derry. No one was injured in the incident. (RUC)
A pipe bomb exploded at the rear of a house in Coolessan Walk, Limavady, at around 1.00am. The RUC said that they regarded the attack as sectarian. (RUC)
June 11, Monday
St Bernard’s Chapel on the Antrim Road in Glengormley was destroyed in an arson attack. See North Belfast incidents below. (RUC)
June 12, Tuesday
In an editorial the New York Times called for independent inquiries into the murders of solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. The editorial provoked a response from the British Ambassador in Washington, Christopher Meyer, who attempted to defend the previous and ongoing investigations into the murders, which in turn provoked a response from Pat Finucane’s law partner, Peter Madden, who attacked Meyer’s claims. (IN)
Detectives investigating the murder of Rosemary Nelson arrested a man in Plymouth. The man, originally from Portadown, was held for questioning about "serious terrorist offences." Two other men were arrested in Portadown on the 14th of June for questioning about the murder. (IN)
June 13, Wednesday
A novena at Clonard monastery in west Belfast was abandoned and more than 2000 people forced to leave after a suspect van was abandoned in the monastery grounds. The van was backed up to the doors of the Clonard youth club, and two men in their twenties got out and escaped in a waiting car. Clonard Street was evacuated after a second suspect device was found in a drain close to the monastery. A British army bomb-disposal team carried out a controlled explosion on the second device before it was declared a hoax, and the area declared safe. The bomb alerts came just hours after a man needed hospital treatment after being attacked by two car loads of men in the nearby Broadway area. The 47-year-old man suffered a head wound, a deep cut to his arm and sever bruising in the attack. His assailants used a baseball bat and a hatchet in the attack. Another man was attacked while walking in the Carrickhill area. The 45-year-old man was stabbed in the face by two men who jumped out of a white car. The RUC said they had not ruled out a sectarian motive for either attack. It is believed that loyalists carried out the attack on the monastery. (AN, IN, RUC)
The Callan River Inn, at Keady, Co Armagh, was destroyed in an arson attack. (RUC)
June 14, Thursday
Sectarian tensions at south Down parade flashpoints could reach an all-time high if agreement was not reached soon, nationalist residents of the area claimed. Mourne Nationalists for Equality (MNE) members were seeking a meeting with the Parades Commission to discuss a loyalist band parade due to take place in Annalong later in the month. Parade organisers had applied to march in the predominantly nationalist Shannagh Drive area of the town. At the same time it was revealed that masked men had threatened SDLP and Sinn Fein election workers in nearby Kilkeel. (IN)
Residents in a nationalist area in north Belfast called for increased security after homes and cars were attacked by a loyalist gang. Residents of Alliance Avenue in the Ardoyne area had house and car windows broken during what they described as a ‘sustained [loyalist] incursion’ into the area. An RUC spokesperson confirmed that a number of car windows had been smashed by people seen leaving the area in a car heading towards the nearby loyalist Glenbryn Estate. Moves are being made to have NIO representatives investigate the possibility of erecting a peaceline between the nationalist Alliance Avenue and the loyalist Glenbryn Park. (IN)
It was announced that the Orange Order intended to hold its County Derry demonstration in Derry City this year. Part of the planned route would pass close to the Bogside, and the Bogside residents’ Group said that they had made attempts to contact the Order to discuss the march, but had so far been ignored. (IN)
It was reported that a young Catholic woman had been forced to leave her Obins Drive home in Portadown after coming under attack from loyalists on an almost nightly basis. The 21-year-old is now staying with relatives. The woman’s mother said: "Last night all the windows in my daughter’s home were smashed. She can’t live in the house and is afraid for her life. People here are getting tortured on a nightly basis. If this continues somebody is going to lose their life. They (loyalists) are trying to increase tensions in the run up to Drumcree." Garvaghy Road residents’ spokesperson Breandan MacCionnaith said: "From April this year the attacks have occurred on a regular basis and in the last fortnight on an almost nightly basis. The sinister thing about it is that a lot of the attacks seem to be directed by the LVF. Clearly it is the LVF trying to up the ante a bit and people are fearful." (IN)
June 15, Friday
Sources close to the UDA confirmed that the group had been consulting its members over plans for involvement in any Drumcree related violence. Independent Unionist councillor Tommy Kirkham (Kirkham was previously elected as a councillor for the UDA aligned UDP, but all prospective UDP councillors had to stand as independents after the party failed to register in time for the June local and general elections.) said: "I know the UDA have sought the views of their entire membership on Drumcree and their findings will be analysed by next week." PUP MLA David Ervine said he was not aware if the UVF had made any similar moves. Orange Order sources said they did not see a resolution of the Drumcree issue this year. The Irish News reported that senior UDA and UVF members had held secret talks with members of the Orange Order to offer their "support at Drumcree. Portadown district spokesman for the Order, David Jones, dismissed the claims, but according to the Irish News their sources substantiated the claims. Garvaghy Road Resident’s spokesperson Joe Duffy said he was not surprised by the development: "Harold Gracey refused to distance himself from the violence last year. It’s common knowledge that the Orange Order and these paramilitaries get together to discuss Drumcree. The sad thing about the whole lot is this element like years gone by will probably take some innocent Catholic’s life. I think the nationalist community need to be extra vigilant this year." (NL, IN)
The Irish News carried a special report on a leaked British Intelligence document, allegedly produced by MI5, which is said to substantiate claims that the RUC’s Special Branch was given overreaching powers over ordinary policing to enable it to protect its informants within paramilitary groups. The document, dated February 23 1981, follows recent allegations that the solving of crime could routinely come second to the needs of intelligence operations. The document details recommendations on RUC intelligence gathering, among which is the recommendation that "all proposals to effect planned arrests must be cleared with regional Special Branch to ensure that no agents of either RUC or army are involved." It continued: "The charging of an agent must be the result of a conscious decision by both Special Branch and CID in which the balance of advantage has been carefully weighed." This would have given Special Branch informants de facto freedom to do what they wanted as long as the value of the information they were passing on to Special Branch was high enough.
The document also states that Special Branch officers must always be on the lookout for new sources of information, and should take over interviews of those arrested by CID if they felt the arrested person could provide relevant intelligence information, and that, if necessary, CID officers who stood in their way should just be transferred.
Jane Winters of British Irish Rights Watch said: "Before this document came to light many people would have thought that, perhaps, on occasion, security came before policing requirements and the requirements of justice. But in this highly systemised process, basically, intelligence always took priority…I do think a very serious question is, if MI5 drew up these guidelines, and if, within the RUC, Special Branch and intelligence is primary – if Special Branch were running the RUC, was MI5 running Special Branch?"
Sinn Fein and the SDLP both said the existence of the document vindicated their stance on RUC reform. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said: "We cannot have a new beginning to policing if that force is under the direct control of faceless securocrats within the British Secret Services." According to the SDLP’s Alex Attwood the report confirmed "that there are still many unanswered questions regarding the relationship between loyalist paramilitaries and the police and army." (IN)
The entire document will be published on our website in the coming days at users.datarealm.com/pfc (PFC)
It was reported that a nationalist counter demonstration would oppose the main County Derry Orange Order demonstration on the 12th of July if it was allowed into Derry city centre. Up to 10,000 Orangemen are expected in the town if the march is allowed to go ahead. Bogside Residents’ Group spokesperson Robin Percival said: "The Orange Order is not welcome in Derry. They won’t be welcome in the city centre so long as their brethren in Portadown continue this stand-off and refuse to meet the Garvaghy Road residents." It was also revealed that the BRG had made numerous attempts to set up a similar dialogue with the Orange Order as the one with the Apprentice Boys, which has kept the city relatively trouble free in recent years, but that all attempts at communication had, so far, been ignored by the Orange Order. (DJ, IoS, IN)
School children were left "frightened and distressed" after their south Belfast school was evacuated after a bomb alert. More than 300 children had to leave St Malachy’s Primary School in the nationalist Markets area of Belfast as security forces examined a suspect device left at the school gates. Local community workers claimed loyalists were seen in the area the previous night. (IN) Peter Montgomery of the Markets Development Association said: "The RUC visited homes in the area recently to say some of the residents’ details are in the hands of loyalists so we were expecting something like this in the run-up to the marching season.""(IN)
It was announced that a third loyal order, the Royal Black Preceptory, had applied to hold a march in Derry city centre at the end of August. It was also reported that the Bogside Residents’ Group had submitted notice of their opposition to the planned 12th of July Orange Order parade, but also reiterated their determination to find a solution to the parades issue in the city. (IN)
Twenty-six men were arrested in Ballymena after they tried to remove tricolour flags from the nationalist Fisherwick Estate (see below). The RUC stopped six cars leaving the estate and recovered flags, cudgels, sticks and other items. (RUC)
June 17, Sunday
An explosive device, consisting of a shotgun cartridge in a wooden box, was found at the Russell Gaelic Union GAA grounds in Downpatrick, Co Down. The device was found hidden behind the goalposts as players and hundreds of spectators dispersed after a match. The find came after a caller claiming to represent an un-named loyalist group said that booby-trap bombs had been left at GAA grounds across the north. The caller also claimed that Sinn Fein election posters had been booby-trapped. Following this warning the RUC visited the home of Mid-Ulster Sinn Fein MLA John Kelly to inform him of the threat. Kelly said he was taking the threat very seriously, claiming it was part of a concerted campaign of intimidation against nationalists during the marching season. He said he would be warning Sinn Fein election workers about the threat, and continued: "I would advise young people who may be thinking of taking Sinn Fein posters as souvenirs to be very careful. I am aware that my own election posters were burnt on a bonfire in Cullybackey, while Sinn Fein election posters in Cloughmills were taken down within an hour of being put up." A GAA spokesperson stressed that the organisation was non-political but called on members to be vigilant. "All members can do is be vigilant," he said, "There is not much more we can ask them to do. Each club knows its own area best." The Russell Gaelic Union club secretary said that the club’s executive was to hold an emergency meeting to discuss security measures at the ground in the wake of the attack. (IN, RUC)
An Orange Hall in Bryansford, County Down, was damaged in an arson attack. A tractor tyre was placed on the roof of the porch and set on fire in the early hours of the morning. (RUC)
June 18, Monday
A bomb exploded outside the house of Larne SDLP councillor Martin Wilson in Slash Park Central in the town. A bomb-proof front door took the full force of the blast. The SDLP, the UUP and the Irish government condemned the attack. An RUC spokesperson described the attack as sectarian and confirmed that two men were being questioned about the incident. A second, unexploded, device was found at his brother’s house across the road. (IN, RUC)
Junior Northern Ireland Minister, Denis Haughey of the SDLP, warned that an ‘escalating tide of violence" could soon claim lives".’ He was speaking after meeting with RUC chiefs in Larne where a bomb exploded outside an SDLP colleague’s house. "No one has, as yet, been killed in recent times" he said, "but if it were to go on the threat to life would escalate…I would imagine that the events which will unfold around Drumcree will possibly raise the temperature again and I am worried about the dangers of escalating intercommunal strife." (IN)
Two men were jailed for erecting a UFF flag outside the home of SDLP councillor Martin Wilson, the target of today’s bomb attack. Colin Bell, from Maybole in Scotland and Alan Nicholl from Lealies Drive in Larne, were found guilty of displaying a UFF flag with intent to cause a breach of the peace on May 14 last year. (IN)
The Royal Mail announced that it might have to stop deliveries in parts of Dunmurry after loyalists threatened a number of Catholic postmen. (IN)
The GAA said that it would be stepping up security at grounds across the north in the wake of a bombing campaign by loyalists. The move came after a crude explosive device was found at a GAA club in Downpatrick. (IN)
Loyalist bandsmen were accused of "ridiculous and shameful" behaviour after a band parade in the mixed village of Claudy, outside Derry. A Catholic church in the village was damaged soon after the parade ended. Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Paul Fleming, said: "Residents of the village were subjected to sectarian taunts and chants, the throwing of missiles, damage to local property and intimidation. (DJ)
It was reported that a contentious Orange Order parade planned for the Springfield Road on June 30 would be banned from entering a flashpoint area. A Parades Commission source said that a decision had not yet been reached. Springfield Residents’ spokesperson Frances McAuley said: "If it is banned there is a threat of a backlash from loyalist paramilitaries but it is something we have always lived with in this community." (IN)
A former RUC officer, jailed for the 1977 UVF murder of Ahoghill grocer William Strathearn, claimed he was to be interviewed in connection with the Dublin-Monaghan bombings. Mid-Ulster UVF members were blamed at the time of the bombings, but many observers and campaigners felt, and still feel, that the bombings could not have been carried out without the technical knowledge and support of RUC or British Army elements. The bombings are now the subject of an independent judicial inquiry in the south. However William McCaughey (see below, June 28) insisted he could shed no light on the matter. He also claimed he was to be interviewed about the 1977 murder of Cushendall RUC officer Joe Campbell, a Catholic. (IN)
A senior Belfast Orangeman denied reports of a split in the Order over the contentious 12th of July parade on the Ormeau Road. County Grand Master Dawson Bailie dismissed claims that the Order’s decision to return to the field at Ballinderry instead of going to Ormeau Park in support of the Ballynafeigh Lodge was evidence of a split. The Ballynafeigh Lodge were said to have reacted with outrage, threatening to stage their own stand-off on Ormeau Bridge. (IN)
June 19, Tuesday
Sinn Fein claimed that provocative loyalist flags were being erected in mixed housing areas in Limavady. Local councillor Francie Brolly said his office had been inundated with calls from nationalist residents about loyalist flags and intimidation. "Many of the youngsters putting up these flags were under the influence of alcohol and were drinking in full view of the small number of security force personnel present." The Dungiven-based councillor said the problem was particularly serious in the Edenvale Road, Scroggy Road and Edenmore Park areas of Limavady. (IN)
Sinn Fein husband and wife councillors Briege and Martin Meehan vowed to defy loyalist death threats and continue to attend council meetings in Newtownabbey and Antrim councils respectively. Mrs Meehan had received a death threat just hours before her first council meeting. A man claiming to represent the Red Hand Defenders had telephoned the threat to the Irish News. In a letter to the Antrim Guardian, signed by the ‘loyalist residents of Steeple’ [a mixed estate in Antrim], the writers threatened to picket the first sitting of the newly elected Antrim Borough Council if Martin Meehan were to attend. (IN)
It was reported that the RUC had warned a number of GAA clubs in County Derry that they were under threat from an unspecified loyalist source. None of the clubs wished to comment, but Limavady Sinn Fein councillor Francie Brolly said: "They [loyalists] have threatened all of the clubs across the north and we know through sad experience that anyone who is connected to the GAA is a potential target for loyalists. (DJ)
The Protestant community in the north is feeling increasingly marginalised, according to research just released by the University of Ulster. In a new report published by the University it was revealed that over half of the Unionists questioned felt that the Catholic population were being treated better. The research was conducted as part of the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey. (IN) (Report available at PFC)
Gary Mc Michael of the UDP claimed that the UDA had approached him to say that they were not involved in any threats against Catholic postal staff in Dunmurry (see above). A local Sinn Fein councillor said he remained unconvinced by the claim, while a PUP representative condemned the threats. The Royal Mail repeated its warning that deliveries may have to be stopped if the situation was not resolved. (IN)
June 20, Wednesday
Newly elected mayor of Coleraine and the first ever Catholic to hold the position, John Dallat of the SDLP, welcomed the council’s decision to adopt the d’Hondt system of power sharing, saying it represented "an end to apartheid" for nationalists in the borough. (IN)
A mother and her daughter were arrested in Cornwall and questioned in connection with the murder of Lurgan human rights solicitor Rosemary Nelson. The two are originally from the Portadown area. Their arrest follows an earlier arrest of a Portadown man in Plymouth in connection with the murder (see above). (IN)
June 21, Thursday
Nationalist residents of west Belfast repeated their calls for a contentious Orange Order parade to be banned from a flashpoint area. The march has caused trouble in previous years, and locals feared that any decision by the Parades Commission on the march would be heavily influenced by the RUC’s assessment which, they claimed, would be influenced by the threat of loyalist violence. Springfield Resident’s spokesperson Frances McAuley said: "The decision seemed to be going in the residents favour but the RUC stepped in and said it would be much worse if the parade was banned. Obviously they have bowed down to the phrase might is right and have come to the conclusion that the greatest threat is from the loyalist end. Sinn Fein and SDLP politicians supported the residents call for a ban on the parade. SDLP councillor Margaret Walsh said: "I think the Parades Commission has to act in such a way that the breach of restrictions by marchers last year [paramilitary emblems were displayed and music was played in contradiction of the Parades commission ruling] means the parade should be banned." (IN)
Two men appeared in court in connection with the explosion at the house of Larne SDLP councillor Martin Wilson on 19 June (see above). (RUC)
June 22, Friday
It was reported that sectarian tensions had been heightened in Limavady by the news that jailed UFF leader Johnny Adair had bought a home in the area. A Sinn Fein councillor said, "many people in the area are concerned that the town is in real danger of turning into another Larne (DJ)
The newly-elected DUP vice-chairman of Strabane District Council, Thomas Kerrigan, received messages of support from across the political divide after being castigated by his party leadership for shaking hands with the Sinn Fein Chair of the council, Ivan Barr, and saying that they would be able to work together. Senior DUP member Gregory Campbell, the north’s Minister for Regional Development, said: "DUP policy is clear. We don’t give any legitimacy whatsoever to Sinn Fein. We won’t have dialogue with them, meet with them or debate with them." Kerrigan apologised to his party for the handshake, and withdrew his statement about co-operation. Councillor Barr responded that relations between his party and the DUP in Strabane had been good in recent years, and that "Councillor Kerrigan [had] demonstrated a willingness to work in a spirit of co-operation with others in the chamber, it would now appear that he has been subjected to pressure from his party to adopt a different attitude." At the same time, it was revealed senior DUP member Jim Wells, convicted for his part in a violent protest against a nationalist march in Kilkeel, would not face any party censure. Wells was convicted of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace. Ruth McConnell of the DUP was also convicted. The DUP defended the party’s stance on the two issues, saying "one was a breach of party rules and one was a breach of the peace." Others have pointed out the inconsistencies in the DUP’s position, saying that they co-operate with Sinn Fein in Assembly committees, and pointing to the numerous examples in the past where they have shown no hesitation in working with those with loyalist paramilitary connections. (DJ, IN)
Resident Magistrate Bernie Kelly warned that she would not tolerate any form of sectarianism. She was speaking as she jailed a 21-year-old Limavady man for one month for a sectarian assault on the 11th of July last year. (DJ)
A photo in the Derry Journal showed a banner which had been erected in the Protestant Fountain Estate in Derry reading "Drumcree 2001: Be Prepared." (DJ)
A number of pipe bombs, and a quantity of ammunition and bomb making materials, was found by the RUC during a search of a derelict house in Pandora Street, in the loyalist Donegall Road area of south Belfast. (RUC)
Both the SDLP and DUP told the Derry Journal that fears that sectarian clashes of the type happening in Belfast would spread to Derry were unfounded. Bids by community groups across the city to diffuse tensions would make such trouble a "virtual impossibility" in Derry, they said. The report came as the newly elected DUP mayor of Derry, Mildred Garfield, pledged to "extend the hand of friendship across the political divide" while at the same time refusing to consider working in any way with the city’s second largest party, Sinn Fein, or the Deputy Mayor, Sinn Fein councillor Peter Anderson. (DJ)
Two Derry men were jailed at Belfast Crown Court for a sectarian arson attack on the home of an 84-year-old Catholic woman in Derry 18 months earlier. William Thompson and Gareth Holmes poured petrol through their victim’s letterbox in the early hours of 13 November 1999 before setting it alight. Holmes was also given a separate sentence for the possession of documents likely to be of use to terrorists. The judge, Justice Coghlan, said he was satisfied that their crimes were motivated ‘simply by political and sectarian bigotry’. (IN, DJ)
June 23, Saturday
A 25-year-old Catholic man from Coleraine, John Henry McCormick, was shot dead in his home at Loughanill Park, in the predominantly loyalist Ballysally Estate. Mr McCormick was shot several times in the head and stomach and died at the scene. The RUC blamed loyalist paramilitaries, while his family were more specific, blaming the UDA. (IN, RUC)
It was reported that the Orange Order in Derry had held exploratory talks with the City Centre Initiative, the group responsible for facilitating talks between the Apprentice Boys and the Bogside Residents’ Group, and this year between the Royal Black Preceptory and the BRG. (IN)
The GAA was on alert amid fresh reports that devices had been planted at grounds across the north. (IN)
It was announced that, now that Sammy Wilson’s tenure as Mayor of Belfast was over, the website sammywilson.com would close down. The Belfast-based site had been used to highlight Wilson’s ‘naked sectarianism.’ The site included such quotes from Wilson as: "The GAA is the sporting wing of the IRA"; "They (gays) are poofs. I don’t care if they are ratepayers. As far as I am concerned they are perverts"; "Taigs (Catholics) don’t pay rates"; "They (Sinn Fein voters in the Oldpark area of Belfast) are sub-human animals." Those responsible for the site – the Andersonstown News – had challenged Wilson to take legal action if he felt he was being misrepresented. He didn’t. (AN)
Sinn Fein said that they would continue to remove their election posters despite earlier threats that they had been booby-trapped (see above). (IN)
It was reported that campaigners calling for an independent judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane had received a pledge of support from the USA’s National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Pat’s widow, Geraldine Finucane, and his business partner Peter Madden, had met the committee to update them on the case. (NbelfN, PFC)
It was reported that the Orange Order’s planned march on the Springfield Road on June 30 would be allowed to go ahead. The official decision by the Parades Commission was not due for another week. (AN)
June 24, Sunday
A social club in east Belfast was badly damaged in an arson attack. A number of cars were broken into and set alight, and the fire spread to the club on the Hollywood Road. (RUC)
June 25, Monday
The pregnant partner of a murdered Catholic man told the Irish News of how she pleaded with loyalist paramilitaries not to shoot him in front of their two young sons. Lynn McConnell was speaking after her partner, John Henry McCormick, was shot dead by loyalists in their Coleraine home on Saturday night (see above). He had been due to appear as a prosecution witness in a case connected to the loyalist feud. (IN)
Nationalists warned that restrictions on a contentious Orange Order parade planned for the week before Drumcree would not deter loyalist paramilitaries bent on violence. It was also reported that trouble had flared on the Springfield Road in west Belfast, where Catholic and Protestant homes came under attack from stone throwing youths. In Portadown a firework exploded in the nationalist Obins area, adjacent to the loyalist Corcrain, and an army bomb disposal team was called in to deal with a suspicious object that had been left at a Catholic home in the area. The object turned out to be a hoax. (IN)
June 26, Tuesday
Derry’s new Mayor, Mildred Garfield of the DUP (see above) sparked outrage in the city when she refused to meet a visiting Catholic cardinal who has been tipped as a possible successor to the Pope. Sinn Fein accused her of double standards when she delegated the meeting to the deputy Mayor, Peter Anderson of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein Councillor Mary Nelis said it was "the most stark example of DUP hypocrisy and double standards. I seem to recall the fuss made by the DUP when former Mayor Cathal Crumley similarly delegated such a duty to his deputy." (DJ)
It was predicted that a prominent loyalist and close associate of Johnny Adair, re-jailed for his involvement in the trouble in north Belfast, could be free again as early as next May. Gary Smyth’s licence was revoked under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement after RUC intelligence sources claimed he had been involved in the recent violence. The same report also claimed that Adair could also be eligible for release next May. (IN)
The SDLP in Claudy and the Claudy Unionist Association asked elected representatives from outside the area not to interfere in talks aimed at settling parades disputes in the area. The call came after trouble followed an Orange Order parade in the town earlier in the month (see above). A spokesperson said: "It is our belief that those elected for and resident in the greater Claudy area are best placed to deal with any problems, perceived or actual, in relation to parades." (DJ)
It was reported that the Royal Black Institution, who have applied for a parade in Derry at the end of August, had attended talks with the Bogside Residents’ Group. Speaking ahead of the meeting an BRG spokesperson said: "We welcome the fact that this first meeting is taking place and it is our view that all of these issues surrounding parades can only be resolved through a process of dialogue." The meeting means that the Orange Order are now the only loyal order to have refused to enter a talks process in relation to parades in Derry. (DJ, IN)
An economic report forecast that another ‘Drumcree stand off’ would have serious repercussions for the north’s tourist industry, which was already suffering from the effects of the foot and mouth outbreak. (IN)
Further trouble was reported in north Belfast, with a loyalist crowd gathering in the Glenbryn area as local Catholic parents tried to take their children to the Holy Cross Primary School. Army technical officers were also called to deal with a suspect device left at another Catholic school in the area. Earlier, 100 Protestant residents had blocked the Oldpark Road in protest against attacks on their homes. (IN)
June 27, Wednesday
The funeral took place of Coleraine Catholic John Henry McCormick, shot dead by loyalists on Saturday 23 June. It was revealed that his home had been targeted several times during the past year, and was pipe-bombed three weeks prior to his death. Speaking after the funeral, Fr Eugene Boland claimed that Catholics living in Coleraine’s Ballysally Estate were leaving their homes because of sectarian intimidation. He said that four Catholic families had left Ballysally because of recent attacks. (IN)
A Catholic man was injured in a sectarian gun attack in north Belfast. The 31-year-old man was in a neighbour’s house in Rosapenna Street in the Oldpark area when a shot was fired through the window, grazing the victim’s back. His neighbour and three children, aged 7, 10 and 15, were also in the house at the time. (IN, RUC)
It was reported that a senior Orangeman had rejected the offer of face-to-face talks with nationalist residents over a contentious parade in west Belfast. Belfast County Grand Master Dawson Bailie said that the resident’s group was a Sinn Fein front. Resident’s spokesperson Frances McAuley said: "These people need to speak to us face-to-face and recognise we also have rights. " Tom Hartley of Sinn Fein said: "The Orange Order is in denial. Orangemen won’t see the fact that the marches are not wanted in nationalist areas and use the excuse that the resident’s groups are a Sinn Fein front. They don’t want to speak to residents, they don’t want to engage or confront residents. They just don’t want to address the marching issue." (IN)
A quantity of petrol bombs was seized during an RUC raid in the loyalist Edgarstown estate in Portadown. Fifteen petrol bombs were found, along with a container of flammable liquid, 16 empty milk bottles and 40 milk bottles containing flammable liquid. Nationalists welcomed the find. (IN)
Two Portuguese men in Dungannon escaped uninjured after their house was targeted in an arson attack. It was the second such incident involving the town’s Portuguese community in recent weeks. (IN)
A man walking in the Harryville area of Ballymena found two suspect pipe-bombs. They were handed into the RUC, who called in a British army bomb-disposal team. In Portadown, a pipe bomb was discovered at the rear of a house at Westland Road, where houses were evacuated as the device was dealt with. Another pipe bomb was discovered at Alliance Avenue in north Belfast. (IN, RUC)
Two women escaped injury during a petrol bomb attack on a house in Brown Street in Belfast. The attack occurred in the early hours of the morning. (RUC)
A number of houses in Trewmount Road, Dungannon, were evacuated after a suspect device was discovered in the driveway of a house. Although it was later declared a hoax, the RUC described it as "a sectarian attack on a man and his 80-year-old mother. This was the latest in a series of attacks on this Protestant family. (RUC)
June 28, Thursday
Convicted UVF murderer William McCaughey, now a PUP representative, called for a community forum to be set up in Ballymena to combat rising sectarian tensions which he claimed were the result of the flying of tricolours in parts of the town, mainly in the nationalist Fisherwick estate. It was reported that fears were growing in the town that members of the UDA and UVF would stage protests if the flags were not removed. McCaughey said that "this is Northern Ireland and the loyal flags are the flags of the country." The SDLP group in the town hit back, saying that "the hypocrisy of those objecting to these flags is immense given the fact that their supporters are responsible for hundreds of flags in the town, including those of a grossly offensive paramilitary nature." In its editorial, the Irish News called for all ‘offensive’ flags to be removed. (IN)
A 10-year-old girl who escaped injury when a taxi plunged into a row of houses has been left traumatised, according to her mother. The incident happened when a loyalist in a Rangers football top got out of a car in Cranbrook Court, north Belfast and started shouting sectarian abuse. According to witnesses he then got back into his car and drove up and down the street, mounting the kerb and trying to hit children who were playing in the area. One eye-witness said: "There must have been something wrong with him. He was driving like a madman and shouting ‘fenian bastards’ from the car. It is a miracle that small children in the street were not killed by that man." An RUC spokesperson said that by the time they arrived on the scene the car was surrounded by a crowd of people but they were able, with the help of some of the crowd, to retrieve the car and driver. The owner of the taxi firm that owns the car said that the car had swerved ‘accidentally’ towards the children. (IN)
It was reported that hospitals across the north were drawing up major contingency plans in the event of a Drumcree stand off. Plans included on-site accommodation for essential staff, mini-bus transport for patients, surgical teams on standby and extra support staff on call. It was also revealed that since the trouble in north Belfast began that the Mater hospital had treated at least 70 casualties. According to a spokesperson for the Mater: "Since this blew up we’ve already seen a mixture of injuries caused by missiles including plastic bullets, petrol bombs and blast bombs. A spokesperson for Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry said "We remain hopeful there will be no problems this year. However, we have to be prepared for any eventuality." (IN, DJ)
June 29, Friday
The RUC issued an alert across the north following the discovery of a new "sophisticated and more lethal" loyalist pipe bomb. A member of the public in Ballymena discovered two of the new bombs earlier in the week (see above). The devices are described as "anti-personnel booby-traps" which use a key to hang the device to door locks, and which have the capacity to kill. An RUC inspector said it was possible the devices found were intended for Catholic homes. The wired pipe bomb measures one foot long, and is attached to a household key. They are believed to be designed to explode when the target opens their door, and is said to be particularly deadly because it is planted at head height. An SDLP spokesperson said they were aware that the pipe bomb was recognised as being a weapon used by loyalist paramilitaries, while Sinn Fein called on all nationalists to be "extra vigilant." (IN, RUC)
A north-Belfast mother-of-four said she would appeal the RUC’s refusal to certify her compensation claim after her home was destroyed after a pipe bomb attack and fire in February. The RUC have refused to certify the claim because they say they cannot link a paramilitary group to the attack, even though the pipe bomb is a favoured weapon of loyalists and the attack on the woman’s home came amidst a spate of loyalist pipe bomb attacks. Without the RUC certificate she is unable to claim compensation for the damage caused to her home and property, and is unable to replace any of her or her family’s belongings that were destroyed in the attack. (IN)
Portadown Orangemen were accused of ‘upping the ante’ by appealing for mass support at Drumcree Hill for their dispute. Portadown District Lodge made the call on its website through its ‘Countdown to Drumcree Service." The SDLP’s Dolores Kelly said: "This seems to be a rally to civil disturbance because that it what was meant in the past. People are very worried and the tension gradually builds from the month of March. There is fear that the difficulties from Belfast will spread to Portadown and will escalate over the next few days." (IN)
It was reported that prominent loyalist Gary Smyth, returned to jail after being linked to the trouble in north Belfast, was being questioned about a hoax bomb alert at the Holy Cross Girls Primary School, the Catholic school at the centre of the recent trouble in north Belfast. (IN)
The Apprentice Boys of Derry announced details of the week-long Maiden City festival, which coincides with their August march. The march has been relatively trouble-free in recent years after agreement was reached between the Apprentice Boys and the Bogside Residents’ Group. (IN)
It was reported that fears were growing in west Belfast that loyalist paramilitaries would attempt to ‘wreak havoc’ in the aftermath of a contentious Orange parade in the area. The reports came as residents awaited news of the Parades Commission decision on the march. One local source said: "There are sinister elements waiting in the wings to cause confrontation and trouble. The march is not the main concern but the focus is on organised violence from loyalists after the march." There were also claims that the UDA and UVF had met with the Orange Order to discuss the march. (IN)
Clergymen in Armagh appealed for calm ahead of all contentious parades. After a meeting of the northern Catholic Bishops a statement was released, which said: "We condemn unreservedly all sectarian attacks. We have witnessed murder, people being attacked in and even driven from their homes, children being intimidated on their way to school, rioting in the streets, and churches being burned to the ground. We fully understand the fear under which so many people are living. We appeal for neighbour to reassure neighbours, especially where families feel threatened. (IN)
A parade to commemorate Derry loyalist Cecil McKnight, killed by the IRA 10 years ago, was cancelled. The organisers said the parade, which had been allowed by the Parades Commission, was cancelled "in the interests of community harmony." A spokesperson said: "This decision was taken purely to leave the way clear for the Orange Order in their endeavours to parade this year." It was also reported that the Orange Order had agreed to take part in a talks process which also involved the Bogside Residents’ Group. However, it was not clear whether or not they would actually meet the resident’s group face-to-face. (DJ)
Relatives of two men killed by the LVF in Poyntzpass three years ago expressed their delight as the men convicted of the killings lost their appeals against their convictions. Philip Allen, a Protestant, and Damian Trainor, a Catholic, were killed by the LVF in the railway bar in the town in 1998. Stephen McClean and Noel McCready were sentenced to life for the murders. They were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, but had their licences revoked when they were charged with attempted murder while out on parole. (IN)
Education Minister Martin McGuinness called for a "zero tolerance" attitude to racism in schools. He was speaking at the launch of a good practice guide prepared by the Equality Commission. It was revealed that two thirds of children from ethnic minorities had suffered some form of racial harassment in school, and that 14% had been physically assaulted, that the majority of schools were found to be ‘indifferent’ to racial issues and that racist attitudes can harden in children from as young as the age of five. (IN)
It was reported that Derry City Council may adopt an official code of practice for the city’s Mayor after the SDLP and DUP complained about incidents during Sinn Fein councillor Cathal Crumley’s time as Mayor. This follows incidents a number of years ago when Ulster Unionist Mayor Richard Dallas was officially censured for taking part in Drumcree protests in the city, which included blocking Craigavon Bridge, one of the main arterial routes in and out of the city. (DJ)
Sinn Fein accused loyalists in the Waterside in Derry of engaging in a ‘cynical attempt’ to deter nationalists from buying new homes in the area. The accusation came after loyalist flags appeared at a new housing development at Drumahoe. Sinn Fein MLA Mitchell McLaughlin said: "I believe that those loyalists responsible for putting up these flags in this particular area are determined not to have a fenian about the place and are sending out a clear message designed to intimidate nationalists from purchasing homes." On the same night, a device exploded at the front door of a house at Curlew Way in the Waterside area of Derry. The remains of a pipe bomb were found around the front door. The owner of the house, a Catholic, who brought up his two young sons in the house where he has lived for nine years, vowed not to move out of the area. (DJ, RUC)
The Parade’s Commission, in a U-turn on its Monday 25 June decision, ruled that the Orange Order’s Whiterock march would be allowed along sections of the nationalist Springfield Road. Bands would not be allowed to play in interface areas, but nationalist residents expressed fear that they would do so anyway, as they have done in the past. At last year’s parade, men in paramilitary uniform accompanied a UDA colour party through the Springfield road section of the march. (IN)
A nail bomb was thrown through the window of a house in Upper Dunmurry Lane in Belfast. The female occupant was badly shocked by the attack, but otherwise uninjured. (RUC)
Ulster Unionist leader and Northern Irish First Minister David Trimble urged the Parade’s Commission to allow the Orange Order to march down the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. (IN, BBC)
June 30, Saturday
A pipe bomb exploded at the rear of a house at Brown Street in the Peter’s Hill area of Belfast at around 11.00pm. Two people in the house at the time were unhurt in the attack. (RUC)
There were clashes at the Orange Order’s Whiterock parade, which went through the nationalist Springfield road. The RUC and British Army, who had water cannons on standby and had erected barricades, seemingly against nationalist protesters, failed to protect the peaceful protest from missile attacks from the loyalist side. The residents, who were protesting against the Orange Order passing their homes without consulting them, were sent into panic when they mistook the bottles being thrown for petrol bombs. There are reports that two of the bands playing were brandishing UVF flags, and part of the route being festooned with loyalist paramilitary flags. A complaint has been lodged with the Parade’s Commission. (IN)
June 2, Saturday.
A week of tension, which local sources say involved nightly attacks on nationalists or their homes at the Alliance Avenue/Glenbryn interface, culminated in a loyalist gunman attempting to fire at nationalist residents on Alliance Avenue before making his escape into Glenbryn. (NbN, CW)
Nationalist and loyalist youths rioted on waste ground bounded by Crumlin road, Flax street, and Hillview street. The RUC said that 12 people had been arrested. (RUC, IN)
June 6, Wednesday.
A 32 year old nationalist from Longlands was beaten and kicked unconscious by a gang of 20 loyalist teenagers who had gathered in a playing field near his home when he was on his way to a sports centre. The attack was stopped when a group of teenagers came on the scene. (NbN)
A Glengormley resident told the North Belfast News that he was taking an action against the local Council and the Department of the Environment for allowing the erection of an Orange Arch. The arch in Glengormley has been at the centre of a row between loyalists and nationalists. (NbN)
The Parades’ Commission ruled in favour of allowing the Orange Order to march through parts of the Ardoyne and other nationalist areas in north Belfast. Nationalist residents warned of a disaster waiting to happen if it went ahead. (IN)
Two vanloads of armed men drove into mixed estates in Whiteabbey and erected UVF posters. The men waved their guns in the air and stopped traffic. Catholic residents expressed fears that the situation could escalate. (NbN)
June 8, Friday.
Sources close to the UDA warned Catholics in Newtownabbey that loyalists would be picketing the annual ‘Cemetery Sunday’ Mass at Carnmoney cemetery on June 17. "The area and graveyard is 85 per cent Protestant and the Catholic Church has never asked permission in previous years" said Tommy Kirkham, former UDP councillor, who compared the situation to Drumcree. North Belfast residents said that they feared another Harryville-style picket. (IN, NbN)
A north Belfast mother of four, sister in law of a Sinn Féin member, told the North Belfast News how her name was on four separate loyalist hit lists. The woman was perplexed as to why her name is on any list at all, she was also alarmed at the lack of information which the RUC gave her about the threats. ( NbN)
According to the RUC, around 150 people were involved in heavy stone throwing in the Limestone road area. Limestone road is an interface street with nationalists and loyalists living at opposite ends. Local sources said that incidents involving vanloads of loyalists driving up the street and stoning Catholic homes were a nightly occurrence. During one of the incidents a pensioner, John Huddleston, who was a veteran republican, died of a heart attack. He was one of a number of local people attempting to de-escalate the situation on the streets. (CW, PFC, NbN, RUC)
June 11, Monday.
Loyalists set fire to and destroyed St Bernard’s Catholic chapel in Glengormley. The attack came just days after former UDP councillor Tommy Kirkham threatened to picket the Cemetery Sunday Mass. The parish priest of St Bernard’s is Fr Dan Whyte, the same priest who said the Cemetery Sunday Mass. (NbN)
The RUC seized over 190 KG of explosives in a raid on what is believed to have been a UVF cache in Newtownabbey. There was rioting afterwards involving loyalist youths. The RUC said they believed the explosives were destined for use against the Catholic population. It was the second loyalist explosives find in the area in a week. (IN, IoS, NbN, RUC,BBC)
June 15, Friday.
Rioting broke out between loyalists and nationalists as the Orange Order’s Tour of the North parade passed nationalist homes in Ardoyne along the Crumlin road to Ligoniel. Nationalist protesters, who said that Orange bandsmen broke the Parades’ Commissions conditions and played music as they passed their homes, were pelted with stones as they held a protest in a side street. When scuffles broke out and loyalists charged at the protesters, the RUC lined up facing the nationalist residents and then charged at them. The rioting that ensued was dampened only by the torrential rain and pleas by Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly for calm.
(RUC, IoS, IN, NbN, BBC)
June 19, Tuesday.
UDA/UFF supporters festooned the Crumlin Road area with UFF flags. As they put them up outside the Holy Cross Primary School, verbal altercations between loyalists and Catholic parents escalated and a parent was physically assaulted.
The RUC described "vicious stoning attacks" by loyalists on Catholic parents as they collected their children from school. Loyalists then blocked the way home, forcing parents to take a long detour.
A man wearing a Celtic T-shirt had a brick thrown through his car windscreen as he drove along Alliance Avenue.
That evening the RUC prevented parents from using the Ardoyne Road to collect their children, forcing them to use the back way, via the Crumlin road.
There were unconfirmed reports that the RUC recovered a number of acid bombs during raids on the loyalist Glenbryn park.
(RUC, IoS, IN, NbN, BBC)
June 20, Wednesday.
8:30 am. Catholic parents, having agreed to assemble outside a shop on Ardoyne Avenue before walking up the road together to bring their children to school, found their way blocked by a line of loyalists in front of which there was a line of RUC officers in riot gear. In a message sent to parents they were told that children would be allowed through, but only with their mothers.
Anne Tanney, the principal of the Holy Cross School announced that in the interests of the safety of children, the school would be closed.
Nationalists claim a gunman was seen on a motorbike in the mostly loyalist Glenbryn Park area.
The PUP’s Billy Hutchinson crossed the interface to negotiate with 100 or so nationalist residents. Angry words were exchanged between Hutchinson and Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly. Loyalists threw stones over the peace line as a man on the nationalist side, tried to head-butt Billy Hutchinson who then withdrew.
Later in the afternoon, at another meeting in the Everton Complex, loyalists agreed to allow parents to escort their children to school on one side of the road only. Catholic parents said they would put the proposal to a meeting while loyalists agreed that they would phone through a confirmation of the guarantee by 8pm.
At 4:30 pm loyalists threw a pipe bomb over the wall of a house in Alliance Avenue. It exploded near the garden shed.
The 8pm phone call never materialised. Instead the BBC reported that loyalists were now "in no mood for talks".
As the evening progressed, violence escalated with skirmishes intensifying almost to the point of full scale rioting. Full scale rioting ensued later in the evening.
Later that same evening, several carloads of loyalists from the Shankill UDA/UFF were seen driving around the loyalist area. There were also rumours that the UDA were bringing weapons into the area.
At 11:05 pm loyalists threw a blast bomb at RUC and British Army lines. Later RUC vehicles charged at a group of rioting loyalists close to the Holy Cross School. It is believed that loyalist gunmen fired six shots from the Glenbryn area and dissident republicans fired three shots from the Ardoyne side. Rioting continued until 2 am, with loyalists throwing over 100 blast bombs, petrol bombs and acid bombs. The RUC fired the new plastic bullets for the first time: six at nationalists, three at loyalists. 39 RUC officers were injured. Five vehicles were hijacked and burned. Loyalists threw petrol bombs at an ambulance carrying injured officers.
(RUC, IoS, IN, NbN, BBC)
June 21, Thursday.
At 11:30 am a loyalist picket dispersed for a meeting. It transpired that a number of school children did manage to get to the school via St Gabriel’s School on the Crumlin Road. For many parents and children, the alternative route to school along the Crumlin road was also problematic as sectarian abuse was shouted at them by passers-by in cars.
At 3:30pm loyalists threw a pipe bomb over the peaceline. It exploded in the garden at the back of a Catholic owned house in Alliance Avenue. Three toddlers playing in the garden escaped injury thanks only to the direction of the blast. A fourth child was hurled against a fence. A second device, which was thrown over the wall of a house belonging to two pensioners, failed to explode. Two women were taken to hospital suffering from shock. Loyalists hurled missiles as the RUC came in to investigate.
Arsonists set fire to Our Lady of Mercy school on the Ballysillan road.
That night there was "fierce rioting" between RUC officers and loyalists, who had set up a burning barricade across the Crumlin Road. Local sources say that senior figures in the Shankill UFF/UDA were spotted on the loyalist side during the disturbances. Some of the pipe bombs thrown that night were said to bear the hallmarks of the Shankill UDA. The RUC confirmed that they believed the rioting was being orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries "Ten shots were fired at police in two separate incidents. About six blast bombs and 46 petrol bombs were thrown as well as 10 large fireworks, bricks, bottles, paint bombs and other missiles. Three arrests were made for public order offences and 24 petrol bombs were also recovered by the police. No baton rounds [plastic bullets] were fired by police."(RUC statement) Four RUC officers were injured. Two Belgian water-cannons arrived at Belfast and the authorities announced the deployment of 1,600 extra British Army troops. (RUC, IoS, IN, IT, NbN, CW, PFC, BBC)
June 22, Friday.
RUC officers refused to escort nationalist parents and their children to the Holy Cross primary school even though there were only 20 people on the loyalist picket. Catholic parents, having registered their protest, walked back down the road and then used the Crumlin road to gain access to the school through the back entrance.
"Why should we go through the back, when we have used the front for 30 years." said Isobel McGrann whose seven year old daughter is a Holy Cross Pupil. " I was a pupil there myself and there were many occasions when we were spat at but these are grown men threatening children with baseball bats."
Parents of Holy Cross children complained that loyalists refused to negotiate a settlement which would allow them to take their children to school using the front entrance. Loyalists from the Glenbryn-based Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne offered to withdraw their picket if parents agreed to continue to use the back route via the Crumlin road for the remainder of term.
Residents of houses close to the interface called for the "peace line" to be built higher as stone throwing and pipe bombings continued. One resident, who had been living in the area for 36 years, moved out.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly called on the UDA, whom locals believe are orchestrating the attacks, to call off the blockade of the school. (RUC, IoS, IN, NbN, BBC)
June 24, Sunday.
In the early hours of the morning there was an arson attack at Whitehouse Presbyterian Church, near Glengormley. It is suspected that nationalists were responsible. The congregation at the Whitehouse Presbyterian Church had made a donation to help rebuild the nearby St Bernard’s Catholic Church, which had been gutted on June 11. (IN, BBC)
Two bomb warnings which the RUC blamed on loyalist paramilitaries disrupted the Cemetery Sunday Mass in Glengormley which loyalists close to the UDA had threatened to picket, the warnings also disrupted a nearby Church of Ireland service. (IN, BBC)
June 25, Monday.
The Holy Cross Primary School closed for the day after a suspect device was left attached to the perimeter fence. The device turned out later to be an "elaborate hoax". Loyalists stoned Catholic homes in the Newington area.
At 8 pm a 20 strong loyalist gang broke through the peace line which separates the loyalist Tiger’s Bay from the nationalist Duncairn Gardens "and attacked property with paint bombs, stones and other missiles." Nationalists, fearing further incursions, called for the gate at Hallidays road to be sealed. (IN)
Later crowds of nationalists and loyalists exchanged bottles and stones at the junction of Limestone Road and Hallidays Road. One woman was injured. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said that loyalists had threatened to "burn Parkside to the ground". Eddie McClean of the loyalist North Belfast Prisoners Aid Group retorted that Sinn Féin were hijacking the cross-community communications network and sending young men to interface areas to riot.
Prominent UFF/UDA figure and close associate of Johnny Adair, Gary Smith, was arrested at his Shankill home after having been connected to the disturbances in the Ardoyne area. RUC chief Ronnie Flanagan revoked the licence on his 16 year sentence for conspiracy to cause murder. Smith was also questioned at Gough barracks about the bomb alert at the Holy Cross School.
(RUC, IN, NbN, BBC)
June 26, Tuesday.
For the second time in two weeks a Catholic Church was set on fire in Glengormley. St Mary’s Catholic Church was seriously damaged in an arson attack in the early hours of the morning.
A Catholic man was shot by loyalists in Rosapenna Street in Oldpark. His injuries were not life-threatening.
(RUC, IoS, IN, NbN, BBC)
June 27, Wednesday.
Loyalists were blamed for a pipe bomb attack on a house in Alliance Avenue.
June 28, Thursday.
Arsonists poured petrol through the letterbox and then set fire to the front door of a house in Lincoln Avenue. (RUC)
Jim Potts, a community worker from the loyalist Glenbryn estate, told the North Belfast News that loyalists would agree to talks with nationalists from the Ardoyne, but that they wanted other issues on the agenda. These included complaints of cars belonging to Protestants being scraped and of nationalist teen-agers spitting at Protestants.
June 29 Friday.
An Orange Order parade in Whitewell breached restrictions and tried to enter a nationalist area across the Arthur Bridge. There was a brief period of stone-throwing between the Orangemen and nationalists before the parade moved on.(IN)
|BBC:||BBC radio and television news, BBC online, Radio Foyle|
|CW:||Local community workers|
|IoS:||Ireland on Sunday|
|NBelfN:||North Belfast News|
|PFC:||Pat Finucane Centre|
Sectarian attacks section