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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Community 'living in fear'
Residents have called for extra patrols
Residents have called for extra patrols
An increase in sectarian violence in north Belfast has led to calls for improved security measures.

BBC News Online hears from community leaders about the fears of people living in an area of the city that has been dogged by trouble for decades.

Residents in north Belfast have called for increased security measures following further sectarian violence in the area at the weekend.

The loyalist paramilitary Red Hand Defenders admitted murdering Gerard Lawlor, a 19-year-old Catholic man, near an interface area on Sunday night.

Security sources believe the killing was carried out by the Ulster defence Association.


There is fear in our community about what could happen next or who the next victim could be

Brian Dunn
White City Community Association

Brian Dunn of the Protestant White City Community Association said people in the area were living in "an atmosphere of fear" following the latest violence.

However, he said the area had been relatively quiet in recent months.

'Sickened'

It comes after the installation of several CCTV cameras.

"I hope these cameras are playing a positive role," he said.

"In terms of what happened last night - all attacks have to be condemned - there is no two ways about it.

"I was speaking to people before coming into work this morning and they are sickened by what happened.


They were not able to prevent someone coming out and preventing a resident going to work

Anne Nee
Community worker

"But there is fear in our community about what could happen next or who the next victim could be."

Residents in the White City believe what is needed is increased security force patrols in order to prevent any trouble.

"If there are cameras at particular points then that will also help the situation," said Brian Dunn.

Nationalist homes

However, Anne Nee, a community worker in the Catholic area of Whitewell, believes the security cameras have not alleviated the problem.

She said she has had four death threats, had her home petrol bombed and suffered several bomb scares.

On Monday morning, she was looking after the children of murdered teenager Gerard Lawlor's aunt. She said the family was devastated.

"CCTV has had no effect in this area," she said.

"They were not able to prevent someone coming out and preventing a resident going to work.


This is a serious time for people to mind their language - political leaders need to be careful to give guidance and leadership

Liam Maskey
Community worker

"They did not prevent an attempted stabbing or someone using a hatchet."

She said attacks on nationalist homes were taking place on a nightly basis.

"The CCTV cameras have been up for about two months, but we don't know how long they have been operational."

Mrs Nee said there was no trust in the security forces within the nationalist community in the Whitewell area.

Liam Maskey, a community worker in north Belfast, said the fear and anger was "as high as I have ever seen it".

"I grew up in the New Lodge Road area from the start of the Troubles in 1969 and right through and I can assure everyone that this is an extremely dangerous time," he said.

"This is a serious time for people to mind their language - political leaders need to be careful to give guidance and leadership."

Mark Coulter, a community representative in the Protestant Glenbryn area, claimed a nationalist gunman had fired a shot across the peace line.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has called for the immediate implementation of community security measures at the Glenbryn/Alliance Avenue interface and criticised the first and deputy first ministers for "the delay".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Julian Fowler
reports on the weekend violence in north Belfast
See also:

22 Jul 02 | N Ireland
22 Jul 02 | N Ireland
22 Jul 02 | N Ireland
28 Jun 02 | N Ireland
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