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North Belfast attack - attempted murder

20 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has described as "attempted murder" an arson attack on family homes in the Throne area last night. Mr Kelly was speaking as he visited the families affected by last nights attack along with local Sinn Féin Councillor Tierna Cunningham.

Mr Kelly said:

"Throne where last nights attack took place is a mixed area with a number of mixed marriages. In what can only be described as attempted murder three homes were badly damaged with two completely destroyed and another badly damaged after an arson attack carried out by loyalists from White City, who were clearly working on the assumption that all of the residents of that area were Catholic.

"Eight children, including an eight month old baby were asleep in the houses destroyed and I would praise the actions of their parents who managed to bring them to safety. I would also praise the work of the fire service who managed to prevent the blaze spreading to even more homes and the ambulance crews who attended the scene and local residents and community leaders including Sinn Féin councillor Tierna Cunningham who were on the scene very quickly last night.

"This arson attack was the fifth sectarian attack carried out by loyalists in 48 hours in Belfast. What is needed now is clear and positive leadership from unionist and loyalist political, church and community leaders not just to call for an end to this wave of attacks but to actually do something about getting it stopped.

"Given the horrific nature of last nights incident and the massive damage caused the families affected have told me this morning that they feel that they can no longer live in that area and will now leave their homes." ENDS

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