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Eight homes of republicans attacked in West Belfast - PSNI Role questioned

6 December, 2003

It has now emerged that as many as eight separate houses belonging to republicans were attacked last night by a loyalist gang in West Belfast. These homes included those of Sinn Féin Representatives Gerry Kelly and Paul Butler. Mr. Kelly this afternoon visited the Butler home in Lenadoon.

Speaking from there Mr. Kelly said:

"As the day has progressed it has become clear that last night's loyalist operation against republican homes in West Belfast was extensive. At least eight separate homes were attacked with gunfire.

"Paul Butler's home was attacked and my own home also came under fire. This was an extensive operation and a number of the shootings took place within sight of PSNI bases. Despite this the shooting attacks were allowed to continue unhindered.

"These sorts of incidents are a throw back to the days of very obvious collusion when loyalist gangs were allowed to pass freely in and out of republican heartlands safe in the knowledge that they would not be apprehended.

"I am in no doubt that the details of the homes attacked last night were passed to this loyalist gang directly from the PSNI Special Branch. What other explanation can be given for co-ordinated nature of the attacks and the fact that the PSNI at no time attempted to intervene to arrest those responsible." ENDS

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