Tuesday, June 21, 2005

British loyalists blamed for assault on Irish Catholic father-of-six

Damian McCarney:

Loyalist paramilitaries are believed to have been responsible for a sectarian attack on a Catholic man in the nationalist enclave of Short Strand in Belfast.

Brian McMullan was viciously attacked on Saturday morning by a gang of four men who beat him with hammers.

Mr McMullan - a father-of-six - was previously badly injured by a work-related accident in 2003.

Sinn Féin spokesperson Deborah Devenny described the attack and an apparent related abduction attempt as “sinister”.

Prior to Saturday’s incident, local people reported seeing a black BMW car cruising around the Short Strand area and acting suspiciously.

“All four men got out of the car with each of them carrying bars of some description,” said Mr McMullan.

“One of them was carrying a ratchet bar and he whacked me over the back of the head. I didn’t have much chance to defend myself as I have a bad leg.”

After failing to get Mr McMullan onto the ground, the gang made off in the BMW, travelling towards the loyalist Newtownards Road.

“I didn’t ask for this to happen. I am just an innocent Catholic and they came into my district to do this. They were out to kill me. It could have been anyone,” said Mr McMullan.

“I was just an easy target because I was on the street. I could have been lying dead in a coffin.”

Mr McMullan was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital and received five staples for cuts on his head.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “A motive for the attack has yet to be established and police are investigating all possible avenues at present.”

Devenny said the incident would heighten tensions aheading of the marching season.

“It is a recurring theme that when tensions rise over loyalist parades, so do attacks upon innocent nationalists,” she said.

“As the summer marching season is now upon us, I would call upon nationalists to remain vigilant at this time.”

Another reason why the indigenous Irish population of the Six Counties needs the IRA to protect them from the loyalist thugs of British colonialism.


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