Community talks over sectarian attacks

Published Monday, 29 July 2013
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Residents from a Protestant estate in west Belfast have met with PSNI and community leaders over sectarian attacks in their neighbourhood.

Community talks over sectarian attacks
Suffolk residents outside Woodburn police station. (© Pacemaker)

Four cars and the living room window of a home were damaged in the Ringford Park area after a crowd of up to 100 nationalist youths went on the rampage on Friday night.

They ran along Blacks Road after they left a house party which was reported as "out of control".

The DUP claimed there were further attacks on Monday evening. They said stones were thrown from the Stewartstown Road into Carnanmore Park and a car windscreen was broken, shortly before 7pm.

"It's very disappointing that there has been a further attack on Suffolk this evening," local DUP councillor Brian Kingston told UTV.

"So soon after that meeting, which went very well, more innocent residents have been attacked and I understand the police have been out."

Earlier, DUP and Sinn Féin representatives described the attacks as "sectarian".

"There is a lot effort goes on between the two communities. There is contact, but unfortunately sectarian attacks do occur from time to time," Mr Kingston explained. "This particular incident on Friday night just stands out in particular because of the scale of the attack.

"It seems that what they did was gatecrash a party in the Brooke Drive area and caused damage there. Then unfortunately they decided to launch what can only be described as a deliberate sectarian attack against Suffolk estate.

Relations in that area are very good and we must ensure that Friday night's incidents don't harm those relations.

Gerry McConville, Falls community representative

Speaking after a meeting with police at Woodburn Station, he added: "The police said that they have four officers dedicated specifically to the investigation into the events of Friday night.

"They currently have diverted their interface police land rovers, three land rovers, dedicated to the Suffolk area to provide reassurance and protection for the area."

Also at the meeting was Matt Garrett, a local Sinn Féin councillor, who said the attacks were not representative of those living in the area.

"Clearly the people who came into the area on Friday night did so with the intent to cause mayhem and havoc throughout this entire community," he said.

"We want to lend our support to the people of Suffolk estate," he added. "This attack was wrong, it shouldn't have happened and they whole-heartedly have our support."

Gerry McConville, from the Falls Community Council, described Friday night's events as "totally wrong".

"It was a pure sectarian attack on the people of that area and must be condemned by all right-thinking people," he said.

"We've been working quite hard along that interface and other interfaces across Belfast to make sure that people are living free from sectarian crime.

"I have been speaking to residents from a small Catholic estate beside Suffolk, who initially were on the scene and saw this crowd coming up and tried very hard to stop the crowd going up the Blacks Road, unfortunately they were just overwhelmed with sheer numbers."

Mr McConville explained that representatives from both communities also met on Saturday, which he said was very constructive.

He added during Monday's meeting that he would inquire whether nationalist representatives should visit the area to see the damage.

"We must make sure that the people who carried out that attack do not win and do not get their way and that these attacks stop," he said.

"I think it's very very important that the ordinary residents of Suffolk know how much we abhor the attacks."

© UTV News
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24 Comments
Eamo in Belfast wrote (388 days ago):
To Sam 1960 if you have not got it but these thugs are not Republican. And the Republican leaders have condemned these attacks unlike the Loyalist leaders on attacks daily on Alliance avenue. Loyalists have not condemned any attacks on Nationalists.
RJ in Belfast wrote (389 days ago):
I am sorry but this story is the biggest pile of rubbish i have ever read 100 youths dont be stupid 100 youths would do a lot more damage than wreck 4 cars and break a window lets be honest here. I was more like 10-20 kids ages between 16-20 who were drinking probably smoking some grass or taking drugs then decided to be wee morons and wreck the place. I am from Ladybrook and was on the blacks road the last few days going round to the garage at night no trouble whatsoever that community in Suffolk are lieing through their back teeth community caught lieing is what the real story should be!
belfast wc in belfast in belfast wrote (389 days ago):
its just a bunch of hoods don't make a big deal out of it
Hugh in Belfast wrote (389 days ago):
@ Bryan McConnell and @ Concerned resident - seriously, give over would you? I am tired of this constant 'what about them ones' attitude of this place. Homes and cars being attacked is not on, no matter where it is. And yes, I am a Nationalist and I would say the same thing if it was the Loyalists on here crying about the other side. It still amazes me how people more or less condone acts of violence and destruction because the perpatrators were from their community. Attacking homes is wrong as is burning flags, rioting and secterian attacks. One more thing, this 'Ethnic cleansing' buzz phrase that is going around is so childish and makes you sound like sheep bleeting out what you heard somebody else say. Time to grow up
Sam1690 in Ballysillan wrote (389 days ago):
A second attack on this community in a matter of days. Was this another house party? Where the idiots who carried out this latest attack also 'not republicans', this is simply intolerant bigotry at its worst. Time for those who claim to be leaders in the Republican community to show real leadership and call for all attacks on the PUL community, our culture and our rights including our right to live in peace in the land of our birth...
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