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Balls, bricks and bottles fly as tension continues

Interface violence has continued this week in the Newtownards Road area, leading to fears that it could intensify over St Patrick’s Day.

Last week graffiti and paint was daubed over St Matthew’s Chapel as well as over £1,000 worth of damage to the grounds. Youths from the nationalist side of the interface responded by throwing rocks, debris and metal tools over the ‘peace wall’ into Duke Street, Thistle Court and Cluan Place .

This week has seen a continuation of the attacks with houses on Susan Street and Duke Street being targeted with rocks, snooker and golf balls and paint bombs, on Monday and Tuesday.

Maggie Hutton, of the Ballymacarett committee and the UUP said: “A window was cracked with a snooker ball, we knew it was a snooker ball because it was lying under the window.

“Ten slates were taken off the roofs within the back side of the street. A warden reported it to the police and the Housing Association.

She added: “A couple of paint bombs landed on the grass in gardens, so luckily they didn’t break.

“This really needs to stop, I can’t understand why the police can’t see it.”

UUP councillor Michael Copeland said: “A number of questions need to be addressed.”

He asked why there was skip filled with rubble so close to an interface wall and added: “There is no excuse for taking things out of a skip and launching them at your neighbours’ houses.

“Whoever is responsible needs to be identified, arrested and prosecuted before they undo years of good work.”

Mount Pottinger Sinn Fein representative, Niall Ó Donnghaile, said he had been talking to the PUP about this issue yesterday.

“Stuff has been thrown into Bryson Street as well.

“Around St Patrick’s Day people will be off work and school so the onus is on the PSNI — they should have the necessary resources in place to stop something happening.”

He said he hoped people would not use St Patrick's Day as an opportunity to “take advantage of the situation”.

Area Commander, Chief Inspector Yvonne Davidson, said: “We all bear a responsibility to work together to make our community a safer place in which to live. Parents are a key part of the solution in tackling anti-social behaviour.

“I would also like to record my thanks to all the community workers in this area who have worked tirelessly, building relationships with young people.”

Belfast Telegraph