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ireland, irish, ulster, belfast, northern ireland, british, loyalist, nationalist, republican, unionist

Loyalists threaten to burn Catholics

(Ciaran Barnes, Irelandclick.com)

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.

Seymour Hill is controlled by South Belfast UDA chief Jackie McDonald. Colin Halliday, a close friend of Mr McDonald and spokesman for the UDA's political wing, the Ulster Political Research Group, said the UDA did not sanction the Redwood estate threats.

He said, "It is nonsense to say the UDA is behind this graffiti campaign or that it is trying to drive Catholics out of the area.

"Catholic families have lived in Seymour Hill for years and they have never been the subject of intimidation. If the UDA wanted to force Catholics out of the area there are much more effective ways of doing this.

"I condemn any intimidation or threats, and I would assure Catholics living in Redwood they have nothing to fear from the UDA."

August 16, 2005

This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on August 15, 2005.