Grieving mother ordered out of home by loyalist paramilitaries, Sinn Féin MLA says

File photo of a PSNI vehicle in Belfast

A grieving mother was ordered from her Belfast house by loyalist paramilitaries as she waited to bring her son's body home, Sinn Féin said.

Windows were reportedly smashed and a sectarian slur scrawled on the wall of the property in the north of the city yesterday evening.

Condemning the "sickening and depraved" attack, Sinn Féin's Carál Ní Chuilín said the woman and her family had been left "very distraught".

The MLA for North Belfast blamed the UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters) group and called on police to do more to tackle the "scourge of loyalist paramilitaries from our society".

The incident comes amid concerns over sectarian unrest against a background of political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it has launched an investigation into a report of criminal damage and threats at a property in Summer Street.

Ms Ní Chuilín said in a statement: "Police have confirmed that the loyalist paramilitary group, the UFF, threatened a woman and ordered her to leave her home in Oldpark today.

"Only hours later her home was attacked and the windows of her home were smashed.

"These shameful and depraved actions were carried in the full knowledge that her son, who died tragically last Thursday, was due to be waked from the family home."

According to the MLA, the woman sought help after she was told by a group of men they had 24 hours to leave.

When the woman returned with police officers to collect clothes from her home, windows had been smashed and "taigs out" - a derogatory reference to Catholics - had been sprayed on the wall.

Ms Ní Chuilín said housing authorities had been contacted to secure the woman's family emergency accommodation.

She added: "These sickening actions must be condemned by all and the criminals responsible should pack up and get off the backs of the community.

"The continued existence of these armed groups is a blight on society.

"The PSNI needs to intensify its efforts to remove the scourge of loyalist paramilitaries from our society."

"I would urge anyone with information on today's incident to bring it forward to the police."

PSNI said it was alerted to a report of criminal damage and threats at a house in Summer Street at 7.10pm.

Inspector McCullough said: "Inquiries into this incident are ongoing and at an early stage and we are working to establish a motive.

"We would like to hear from anyone who has information in relation to this incident and can assist our investigation to contact us on 101."

PA & Digital Desk

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