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Nationalist homes targeted by paint bombers

Police at the scene in Ardoyne where homes were attacked with paint. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

Nationalist residents in north Belfast have called for a protective wall to be kept in place after loyalists were blamed for paint-bombing Catholic-owned homes.

Several properties facing the Crumlin Road in Ardoyne were targeted in an attack on Thursday night.

Some local people have now called for plans to remove a wall which separates the houses from the Crumlin Road to be shelved.

It is believed loyalists launched the attack over the wall from the entrance of a nearby retirement home close to Holy Cross Church.

One block of flats was struck up to four times after glass bottles filled with paint were thrown at around 11.30pm.

Pensioner Margaret McGuinness urged a rethink over plans to tear down the wall and replace it with a see-through wrought iron fence.

The plan is part of a scheme to regenerate the area which includes installing reinforced glass in local homes.

“I don't want the wall to come down,” she said. “I would be afraid.”

Ms McGuinness said she already has grills installed on her windows and is fearful there could be more attacks if the wall is removed.

“If there is any trouble I want to be moved out of that house,” she said.

Another resident, Gerard Frame, described those behind the attack as “thugs” and said he is keeping an open mind on who was responsible.

However, he said he has no objections to the wall being taken down and it has been many years since homes in the area have been targeted.

“People were shocked this morning and were not expecting that to happen to our property in this day and age,” he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member Carál Ní Chuilín condemned the attack.

“This is a sectarian attack and is aimed at raising tensions in the area over the summer months.

“People should recognise it as that. No-one, especially our young people, should be drawn in to any form of retaliation."

Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective spokesman Aidan Ferguson said members offered to help local people remove the paint.

“Ardoyne residents should have the right to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation,” he said.

“These attacks, directed by reactionary paramilitaries within the UVF, are further proof that this right is denied to us.”

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