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McGuinness - Sinn Féin launch Loyalist attacks dossier

8 October, 2003

Sinn Féin this morning launched a dossier detailing the extent of loyalist sectarian attacks over the past three months. The dossier will be passed to both the British and Irish government. Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP was joined at the launch by North Belfast Representative Kathy Staunton, South Antrim Representative Martin Meehan and Lagan Valley Representative Paul Butler.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"This dossier lists sectarian attacks carried out by loyalists across the Six Counties between July and October this year. The dossier will be sent to the two governments. The Irish government has a duty to defend Irish Citizens who are the target of these attacks. The British government has a responsibility to explain the role of their agents inside the loyalist paramilitaries responsible for this campaign.

"In the past three months, despite relative calm at some interface areas, loyalist violence has persisted with more than 160 separate attacks, including numerous gun attacks, 54 bomb attacks and 43 serious assaults and stabbings. Also in the past number of weeks this campaign has spread to a number of schools, with devices being left at school gates.

"Sinn Féin has been aware that over the past year intensive contacts between unionist political leaders, with UUP authority, and the leaders of the various paramilitary groups have been ongoing. Unionist politicians should explain the insight this has given them into what is going on within these armed groups and tell us when this sustained campaign will end. Those involved are given succour when they hear unionist politicians defending sectarian threats and protests such as those outside Carnmoney Cemetery and other sectarian incidents.

"All political parties need to speak out with one voice on this campaign. This dossier is merely the tip of the iceberg and does not include the nightly attacks and intimidation which largely go unreported. There is an urgent need for the political process to be put back on track and for a cross party initiative against sectarianism." ENDS

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