Security boosted at threatened Catholic schools

 

Police in Northern Ireland are preparing to mount a major security operation at dozens of schools across north Belfast following loyalist threats against teachers and school staff.

"That will include very high profile operations in the vicinity of schools and it will include working very closely with head teachers and people in the community to try to do everything we can to try to ensure everything passes off safely," he said.

Sinn Féin's Mr Martin McGuinness, the North’s Education Minister, said he has called a meeting of all sections of the education system to discuss what he calls the "unacceptable" threat against teachers and school staff together with the wider situation in north Belfast schools.

The meeting will be also be attended by the unions representing teachers and ancillary staff.

The Red Hand Defenders threatened that Catholic teachers and school staff were legitimate targets.

The threat came after loyalists smashed up teachers' cars at one north Belfast Catholic school while their main target - the Holy Cross girls primary school - was shut following a night of rioting on the surrounding streets.

Mr McQuillan said police believed a later statement repudiating the RHD claim and threat and had "good reason to believe" it was elements within the mainstream loyalist Ulster Defence Association which carried out the killing.

PA