Mother's terror during Belfast trouble

Published Sunday, 24 August 2014
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An east Belfast mother has told UTV of her terror after her young family got caught in public disorder at an interface area on Saturday night.

Rival factions of loyalist and nationalist youths threw petrol bombs as they clashed in a series of incidents in the Castlereagh Street, Mountpottinger Road, Woodstock Link and Albertbridge Road areas.

Police said the violence started when two rival factions fought in the Castlereagh Street area shortly before 10pm.

Officers were deployed to the area and youths dispersed quickly before a petrol bomb was thrown towards a property on the Mountpottinger Road.

Police said they recovered the remnants of the device for forensic examination and seized two other petrol bombs.

At around 11.30pm police said youths gathered at Woodstock Link where missiles were thrown.

The front window of a house on the Albertbridge Road was also smashed during the trouble.

Senior police described the attack on the house, which "terrified" the family, as serious.

Clare O'Donnell said her children, aged two and eight, were playing in the front room of the house when snooker balls were thrown at their windows.

She said they were forced to hide in an upstairs bedroom while the disturbance took place.

The 28-year-old told UTV it was lucky her children were not scarred for life after her living room window was put through.

I don't know why the same rival groups of people - on both sides - are allowed to get together and wreck people's lives.

Clare O'Donnell

She said: "It was men who came into my garden shouting 'UVF'. I don't know why or what they thought they would achieve, but they left me and my children terrified.

"It was horrendous, the windows are double glazed and so only the one of them was smashed through.

"But now were are having to sit with the light on all day because it is so dark in the house with the windows all boarded up and the children are asking why this has happened."

Police said there had been a recent spate of minor trouble over previous nights and Saturday's events were an escalation.

Ms O’Donnell added: "Boys come out to start the trouble and older men come out to finish it off.

"This has been going on for some time and the police know where the trouble is going to happen, but nothing is done.

"It can't be allowed to go on; someone has to put a stop to it. Everyone should be safe in their own home."

Following a period of relative calm at the interface there has been an escalation of disorder over the last few nights, largely involving groups of young people throwing missiles. This culminated in petrol bombs being thrown from both factions on Saturday night.

Superintendent Mark McEwan

Police said there were around 20 youths on each side, aged in their late teens to early 20s and divided along sectarian lines.

Superintendent Mark McEwan said: "At this stage there is nothing to say this was orchestrated by any group but any orchestration would be through social media.

"This was followed by a serious attack on a house on the Albertbridge Road which involved golf and snooker balls being thrown at the property breaking several windows and terrifying the occupants, who included children.

"We had resources at the scene and working with community representatives we were able to deal with the disorder."

He added: "We will have a proactive policing operation in place because we are taking this seriously and I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

"I would appeal to parents to know where their children are at nights.

"I would also appeal to those young people who may be involved."

Police say 48 people have been arrested at the interface since April.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
35 Comments
lucylou in belfas wrote (15 days ago):
TOMMY ATKINS in LONDON ------Never mind being so rude to NORMAN-telling him to get 'a new script writer'. Why don't YOU get yourself a LIFE in that utopia you live in and stop concerning yourself with a town that has nothing to do with you other than, in another life, you did a few tours of duty in N I. It doesn't make you an expert even though you think you are. THREE BADGE BUDGIE SYNDROME COMES TO MIND!
not fooled in Belfast wrote (21 days ago):
@ Bill in Antrim. The RUC/UDR seems to have held significant terrorists in their ranks but received disgusting pay offs instead of being jailed, so wind your neck in!!!!
William in Belfast wrote (21 days ago):
Idiot kids with even bigger idiots for parents who don't seem to care what their children are getting up too. Then when their kids get caught the parents blame everyone else but themselves. They're your kids act like responsible parents and teach your children right from wrong.
ted in east wrote (22 days ago):
once again bored teenagers looking a bit of excitement. nothing more, nothing less....but as someone else rightly pointed out, those involved usually live nowhere near the actual flashpoint. particularly those on the loyalist side as the nearest inhabited houses on castlereagh st are about 200m from mountpottinger rd....
AK in Co Londonderry wrote (22 days ago):
Religion has nothing to do with it it's called "cloning", .... if the parents were interested in where their kids were, they would be at home, not terrorising a young family......
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