Bangor woman speaks out over UDA's hammer attack on dad
A brave Bangor woman has opened up about her family’s ordeal after UDA thugs attacked her dad with hammers.
In November, Gaynor McMahon helped her father, Aaron, after two masked men viciously beat him in their family home on the Clandeboye Road.
“You’re always looking over your shoulder,” the 22-year-old told Sunday Life.
“My dad’s the best dad I could have ever asked for and all he was doing was the right thing.”
Chairman of Clandeboye Village Community Association (CVCA), Aaron headed a campaign to stop paramilitary intimidation in the area.
Six UDA flags were erected for the first time in March before a faction of the UDA tried to take over and secure funding for the Clandeboye community bonfire.
CVCA, through a heavily attended public meeting in May and numerous chats with local PSNI and politicians, had voiced concern over the UDA’s takeover.
“We knew this was going to happen — we had said it so many times,” said a tearful Gaynor.
“Those flags and the issues over the bonfire were making people feel intimidated but no-one wanted to know.
“My dad and the CVCA were trying to make the community a better place for everyone, especially the children, and instead these horrible people do this.”
Aaron, 45, lives above the family’s thriving business, Clandeboye Printing Services. Gaynor, who had been with her father just minutes before the attack, said: “I put my hand on his head and within seconds my arm was covered in blood.
“I was crying my eyes out and my mum was trying to calm me down so my wee brother and sister, who are only seven, and a friend didn’t get too upset but they were so, so scared and so was I.
“Dad was shouting at me for crying and worrying but, at the end of the day, that’s my dad. If he hadn’t been able to cover his head it could have been murder.”
“People don’t realise that this is happening regularly because victims and their families are too scared to speak out but not any more. It’s not good enough.”
At a recent Policing and Community Safety Partnership in Bangor, Gaynor asked: ‘When do the PCSP and police actually start protecting our communities and people like my dad?’
She said: “We need to speak out so that people know that this isn’t acceptable.
“You can’t go into someone’s house and attack them in front of their kids weeks before Christmas.
“My little sister won’t go anywhere in the house on her own now and her and my brother are receiving counselling through their local primary school, which has been very supportive.”
The night after the attack hundreds, including a large number of loyalists, gathered outside the house to show their support for Aaron and the family have received cards from as far away as New Zealand, New York, Canada and Australia.
A joint statement has also been issued by 32 political representatives in North Down condemning the attack.
The McMahon family is now keen to see actions from politicians, statutory agencies and the PSNI to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in any local community.
“People clearly don’t want this kind of violence in this area. It’s wrong to run a community using intimidation,” added Gaynor.