Victims of attacks blame Orange Order


Residents of a Catholic housing estate in Lurgan which was attacked by loyalists with blast bombs have called for the Orange Order to "catch itself on". Two houses were damaged and three people treated for shock in the attack early yesterday, when a gang of 30 loyalists threw petrol and nail bombs. Shots were fired and the RUC recovered a number of empty shells as well as unexploded blast bombs, which are being forensically examined.

The RUC recovered a number of unexploded devices for forensic examination. In a recent search of the loyalist Mourneview estate police found up to 200 bombs containing Paraquat.

Angry residents on the Collingwood estate, which borders the loyalist Mourneview estate in the town, say the Orange Order cannot escape responsibility for the attacks.

"The Orange Order says this violence has nothing to do with them, but it's fairly and squarely on their shoulders," said Mr Sean Dowds, who suffered an angina attack as he tried to hose down his burning house. "Let the Orange Order pay for this and not the taxpayers of Northern Ireland," he said. It is the second time the houses have been fire-bombed - the previous attack was during the 1996 Drumcree stand-off.

His wife, Ms Joan Dowds, who is English, said that "we get on well with our neighbours. It's not the neighbours. It's the thugs.

"The trouble is they must know who the thugs are and it's about time someone talked about it.

Local SDLP councillor Mr Kieran McGeown said that the families were "absolutely terrified". Mr Dowds's house was saved from interior damage because of double glazing, but the house across the road went on fire when a bomb smashed through the window. After Portadown, Lurgan is the most segregated town in Northern Ireland, and is divided by religion right down the centre. Mr McGeown said that there was a civic forum in the council and that both sides were trying to do something to sort out the issue. They had agreed to spend £90,000 to erect a "peaceline" fence to keep the two sides apart. He conceded that "instead of building bridges we are putting up barriers".