Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sectarian campaign against Catholics in Ballymena intensifies

11 September, 2006

Sinn Féin assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has said it‚s about time the Unionist gangs in Ballymena who continue to attack Nationalist houses "caught themselves on" before they seriously injure someone.His comments come in light of a weekend which saw 4 Catholic owned homes attacked with petrol bombs and windows smashed with bricks.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Over the past number of weeks there has been a sustained campaign of intimidation and terror directed at the nationalist community that live in Ballymena. These attacks have been allowed to become the norm because of the ambivalence of many unionist political representatives.

"Despite the death of young Michael McIlveen in the summer of this year which affected both communities in the town, these Loyalist gangs continue to intimidate and attack Catholics that live in Ballymena.

"It's accepted that Ballymena is a Unionist town with a Catholic minority, but this does not give the Unionist community any leverage over their Catholic neighbours. The Nationalist people of Ballymena deserve the right to live in peace in their homes as well as anyone else.

"Its unfortunate that the other parties involved in this situation are intent on burying their heads and portraying this as a tit-for-tat campaign. Considering that out of 8 attacks this week alone, 7 of them were on Catholic homes lays to rest this tit-for-tat scenario.

"The motivation for these petrol bombings and destruction attacks are entirely sectarian. Unionism has nothing to fear from Nationalists being apart of the community in Ballymena nor should they fear equality of treatment for all Ballymena citizens. This is a message that needs to be heard clearly from elected unionism.

"I want to reiterate my belief that the DUP and others, who sit on Forums and Commissions with the leaderships of the UDA and UVF can help bring about an end to these attacks. As the largest unionist party, they have an obligation to face down the loyalist thugs intent on fermenting sectarian division. Words of condemnation are obviously not enough, radical measures are needed to change the sectarian attitudes that clearly exist in their community." ENDS

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