Northern Ireland

Woodvale: 'Sectarian' attacks on elderly homes condemned

The window of a house in Workman Avenue was smashed
Image caption The window of a house in Workman Avenue was smashed

Attacks on pensioners' homes at a sectarian flashpoint in west Belfast in recent days have been condemned.

Minor damage was caused to the roofs of homes in Kirk Street, in the predominantly Protestant Woodvale area.

A car windscreen and a house window in Workman Avenue were broken. Residents have blamed nationalist youths for the attacks.

Workman Avenue runs between the Woodvale Road and mainly nationalist Springfield Road.

The police said only two incidents, one on Wednesday and another on Thursday, had been reported to them.

Richard Russell, 82, who lives on Workman Avenue, said his car windscreen had been smashed.

Image caption Bottles and bricks were thrown over the peace gate

"We are concerned about this and hoping that something can be done, that it can bring a bit of peace and quiet," he said.

"There's nothing, only a load of bungalows here with pensioners in it, in their 70s and 60s.

"They just live in fear night after night. They are crying out for some help."

Sean Murray from Clonard Residents' Association, on the Springfield Road, condemned all the attacksm irrespective of which side that carried them out.

"People should have the right to live in their own homes free of any fear or concern about their safety," he said.

'Interface community'

"It's mainly young people involved in these incidents. There have been cross-peaceline attacks ongoing for a number of weeks. This is going to result in somebody being seriously injured.

"The danger is it can start with a brick, but evolve into something more serious."

Greater Shankill DUP councillor Nicola Verner said "rocks" had been "thrown over the peace wall from Springfield Road".

"It is outrageous that elderly and vulnerable residents are being subjected to such an ordeal in their senior years," she said.

She claimed there had been a "marked upsurge of sectarian attacks against this interface community over recent weeks".

"These have included attacks on residents' homes and cars by nationalist youths entering Workman Avenue from Springfield Road, while bungalows in Kirk Street have been pelted with eggs and now with rocks," she added.

She said local representatives are due to meet the police to discuss the incidents.