DUP leaders condemn attacks on Catholics

THE DUP has condemned the latest wave of sectarian attacks after another night of violence in the North.

In recent weeks, Catholic homes, churches and schools have been targeted in a spate of petrol bomb, arson and paint bomb attacks in Ballymena, Ahoghill and Rasharkin in the heart of the Democratic Unionist leader’s constituency.

Police have also issued Catholic families in Ahoghill with fire blankets in case they are attacked.

Ian Paisley and his son, Ian Junior, an Assembly member for the area, have condemned the violence.

Mr Paisley Jnr, who is also a member of the NorthernPolicing Board, responded to criticism from Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald by insisting the DUP’s opposition to the attacks was unequivocal.

“We have condemned unequivocally this most recent wave of attacks and we ask anyone with information about the attacks to forward it to the police and help ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“We would challenge Mary Lou McDonald to publicly support the police, law authorities and the courts in their attempts to ensure that justice is served upon those responsible for these attacks,” Mr Paisley said.

In the latest attacks:

* Three children, including a three-month-old baby, were splattered with paint after a house in Cliftondene Gardens was attacked by loyalists.

* A pensioner was treated for shock after his home came under attack from petrol bombers. Four petrol bombs were thrown at the rear of the house in Alliance Avenue in Belfast, occupied by the man and his wife, who are both in their 70s.

* Other properties in the street were also attacked.

* Stones and other missiles were also thrown at loyalist homes in Glenbryn and Twadell Avenue.

* Police came under attack during two hours of rioting by two groups of up to 30 youths who clashed in the Brompton and Cranbook areas.

* Police vehicles were also pelted with a range of missiles including golf balls, paint bombs and some petrol bombs.

* On Tuesday night, the home of 82-year-old cancer sufferer John Mussen in the loyalist Hesketh Road was targeted in a paint bomb attack.

Nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan accused the Ulster Defence Association of orchestrating the violence in north Antrim and has demanded Government action.

During visits to north Antrim and east Belfast, Ms McDonald insisted the Irish Government needed to intervene in the face of a sectarian onslaught against nationalist and Catholic families.

“There have been over 100 attacks by loyalist paramilitaries against the nationalist communities of Belfast and Antrim over the last three weeks,” she claimed.

“Dublin must not stand idly by while nationalists in Antrim stand unprotected before the loyalist onslaught.

“I am calling on Dubliners of all political persuasions to join me in a solidarity demonstration at the GPO tomorrow and help us maximise pressure on the Government to intervene.”

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