Northern Ireland

'Sectarian' attacks drive family from home of 60 years

A Catholic family, who have lived in Drumahoe for generations, are to leave after a series of what they believe to be sectarian attacks.

The family say neighbours have pleaded with them to stay, but they are too afraid.

In the latest incident, a gang of six youths smashed the front door and windows of their home, and pushed a firework through the letter box.

A 14-year-old girl, who was inside at the time, narrowly escaped injured.

It was after that attack last Tuesday that they finally decided to move.

Family members were too afraid to be interviewed, but asked a friend to speak on their behalf.

A friend of their mother said that she had hoped one day her children would take over the family home.

"She is going to leave the place where her people, her mammy and daddy, her grandparents lived.

"She is prepared to block up the windows and walk away," she said.

Fantastic neighbours

The woman said the family have fantastic neighbours, but they were still determined to move.

"They are fantastic people," she said, "the Protestant people have rallied around to help her.

"A lot of the people are still there from her mother's time and she will tell you that none of her family had any hassle growing up."

Andrew Russell, the chairman of the Drumahoe Residents' Association, said that a lot of Catholics lived in Drumahoe and problems were unusual.

He said that he had been in regular contact with the police over the family's problems and that one line of enquiry was that the attackers might have come from outside the area.

"The word that I'm getting from the majority of residents in Drumahoe, in fact all the residents in Drumahoe, is that they do not want this lady to leave her house. In fact, they give her their full support."

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