Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Rampaging mob in west Belfast are 'an affront to their community'

DUP's Brian Kingston in the Suffolk area
DUP's Brian Kingston in the Suffolk area

A mob of up to 100 youths who rampaged through a Protestant enclave in west Belfast are an affront to their community, nationalist politicians have said.

Four vehicles were badly damaged and the windows of a property smashed during the attack at Ringford Park in Suffolk.

Unionist politicians met police following the incident and have requested increased patrols.

Residents told of their terror after the group descended about 10pm on Friday, just a short distance from Woodbourne police station.

It was claimed the crowd threw bricks and bottles, with some wielding hurling sticks and hammers.

The youths were said to have been at a house party in nearby Brooke Drive before the incident.

Ruth Parkinson was terrified for her two grandchildren as her car was attacked with hurling sticks.

She said: "My husband is talking about getting a new car but why would we when this keeps happening? We've always got on with our Catholic neighbours, and many have been here to apologise.

"But there is a group of sectarian thugs who have been attacking us for decades. It makes me mad."

Sean Conlon, whose home was attacked, said he was watching TV when they heard a window smash and saw youths outside.

He added: "You are used to people walking by the odd Saturday night and throwing bricks or bottles but the fact that there was so many of them, this time, was extremely worrying."

DUP Councillor Brian Kingston called for an increased police presence in the area. He said: "I appeal for calm and cool heads in the face of these outrageous attacks."

DUP councillor Ruth Patterson added: "This was an orchestrated, sectarian, hate-filled attack on a community that has been under siege for decades."

Sinn Fein councillor Matt Garrett said the attack was an attempt to stir up sectarian tensions in the area.

He said: "There are people working hard at the Blacks Road/Lenadoon/Suffolk interface to make sure that residents can get on with their lives free from this type of behaviour. The wider west Belfast community want to live free from intimidation and sectarianism. They will continue to strive for that despite the actions of this drunken mob."

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood branded the attack "appalling".

A PSNI spokesman said police are treating the incident as a hate crime. No arrests have been in relation to the incident and appealed for the community's help.

He said police received reports of youths fighting among themselves outside a house party in the Brooke Drive area half an hour before the attacks started.

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