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Butler - Loyalist campaign targeting Catholics in Stoneyford

11 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Lisburn councillor Paul Butler has accused a prominent loyalist in the Stoneyford area of orchestrating a campaign of intimidation against the Catholic population in the area in an attempt to drive Catholics from the village.

Cllr Butler said:

"Stoneyford, like other areas on the fringes of Belfast such as Glenavy and Crumlin, and the surrounding area has seen a marked increase in the number of Catholics moving into the village. Indeed within the past year there have been a number of new housing developments built in the Stoneyford area with the vast majority being bought by Catholics.

"However, many of those who have moved into this area, and indeed Catholics who have lived here for many years, have been faced with a campaign of intimidation designed to drive them out. This campaign that is, in effect, an effort to drive out the area of its Catholic population is being orchestrated by a prominent loyalist from Stoneyford.

"At present there are many Catholics moving out because of intimidation. The only Catholic owned business in the area has been forced to close with over 50 attacks being directed at the family in the past number of year. The local chapel has also been attacked on many occasions with both petrol and pipe bombs. If we add to this the sectarian graffiti and the Orange Volunteer flags, which are evident throughout the village, it is clear to see that there are those intent on intimidating the local Catholic population.

"However I am confident that if the community stands up to such intimidation and community leaders, particularly within the unionist community give positive leadership that we can make Stoneyford a village that welcomes everyone regardless of religion or background.

Cllr Butler added:

"It has not gone without notice that despite an ongoing campaign of terror directed at Catholics in this area that we have seen no arrests or charges by the PSNI. Their failure to act is seen as complicity in this campaign of intimidation and a reminder that for Catholics that little has changes in terms of policing." ENDS

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