Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Loyalists threaten to burn Catholics

Ciaran Barnes:

Catholic families living in a new mixed housing estate in Dunmurry have been warned they face being burnt out of their homes unless they leave the area.

Threats, believed to have come from the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), were written on walls throughout the Redwood estate in Dunmurry on Wednesday evening. Developers are in the process of building 200 properties in the area, around 50 of which are currently occupied.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler believes the UDA in the loyalist Seymour Hill estate, which is next to Redwood, is trying to drive Catholics out of the area.

He said, "When the first stage of development was completed at Redwood last year, the UDA sprayed graffiti around the estate warning Catholics not to buy houses.

"I have no doubt the UDA is behind these latest threats. For years Catholics in this part of Dunmurry have been victimised by paramilitaries determined to turn the areas next to Seymour Hill into loyalist ghettoes."

Last week a home in Redwood was petrol bombed in what locals believe was a sectarian attack. In the summer of 2004, a number of Catholic children were assaulted outside a garden centre in the area, and in 2003 loyalists from Seymour Hill crucified a Catholic car thief on a wooden fence after catching him breaking into vehicles in the area.

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