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Concern expressed over rise in Loyalist violence

20 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has said that he is 'deeply concerned at the significant rise in unionist paramilitary activity over the past number of weeks'. Mr McLaughlin was speaking on his return from London where he was briefing MPs about the current situation in the peace process.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"This week has seen the murder of a man in East Belfast as part of ongoing internecine feuding amongst unionist paramilitaries. It has also witnessed a murder bid on a Sinn Féin member in Ballymena, a bomb hoax in Leinster House, attacks on Catholic homes in Portadown and North Belfast and death threats issued to four Sinn Féin Assembly members and three other party activists living in East Derry.

"I have real concerns about the significant increase in unionist paramilitary activity over the past number of weeks since the publication of the IMC Report. There is clearly a real threat to nationalists in general and to Sinn Fein activists in particular.

"Sinn Féin have never in the past and will not in the future allow this sort of intimidation to prevent us from representing and defending the rights and entitlements of the nationalist and republican electorate. However, we need to hear more from the political representatives if unionism regarding this matter. We need to hear from them in very clear terms that these threats and attacks are unacceptable and must stop." ENDS

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