Opinion

Editorial: Naked sectarianism and vitriol directed at Lurgan woman is depressing

Lurgan Ring video
Lurgan Ring video Lurgan Ring video

The naked sectarianism and vitriol directed at a Co Armagh woman on the doorstep of her own home is both deeply alarming and profoundly depressing.

Footage of the terrifying episode was clearly captured on a video doorbell. It shows a group of people entering the front garden and driveway of the house in Lurgan, talking aggressively about the fact that a Catholic lives in the property.

In an ordeal lasting more than two minutes, one man repeatedly bangs and kicks the front door with force while delivering a tirade of verbal abuse, much of it of a religious nature.

A window is also banged and at one point another man attempts to prise the camera off the door.

This would have been an appalling experience for anyone but the fact that the house was occupied by a 21-year-old single mother and her 18-month-old son serves only to amplify its impact.

Everyone has the right to expect the dignity and sanctity of their own home to be respected, and it is little wonder that the woman said she was "traumatised".

"These thugs were trying to put my door up my hall and my windows in round me and my baby son," she wrote in a social media post.

"This was for nothing and it can’t be described as anything but sectarianism – pure hatred for me because of my religion," she added.

It is unclear from the video what would have happened had the man been successful in his efforts to gain entry to the home. Indeed, many will consider that to be the most frightening aspect of the nightmare incident, which happened on Sunday following Rangers' defeat to Celtic.

Read More: Young mother-of-one flees Lurgan home following 'sectarian abuse' on her doorstep

Following a report of a hate crime, the PSNI said on Tuesday that a 34-year-old man arrested on suspicion of attempted criminal damage had been bailed to allow for further enquiries.

Political representatives in the area have condemned the episode, including DUP MP Carla Lockhart who appeared to be a social media 'friend' with a man identified as being involved.

It goes without saying that any form of intimidation is reprehensible, and that it is particularly troubling when there is a sectarian element. For all the achievements hailed around the Good Friday Agreement's 25th anniversary, tackling the sectarianism that remains endemic in Northern Ireland cannot be considered among them.

But it must also be acknowledged that there is a significant problem around gender-based intimidation, where some men apparently feel entitled to behave in completely inappropriate ways towards women.

It is clear that more must be done to tackle these illnesses in our society.