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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 18:22 GMT
Second fire at arson attack pub
Laverty's bar was extensively damaged in the attack
Laverty's bar was extensively damaged in the attack
Army firefighters have been called to tackle a second fire at a County Antrim pub targeted in an arson attack.

Laverty's bar on Main Street in Randalstown was extensively damaged in the first fire which started at about 0230 GMT on Tuesday.

Two army yellow goddesses from Ballymena tackled the blaze and said they had contained it by 0400 GMT.

But the building was gutted.

Security force firefighters were called to the building several hours later, when the bar was discovered to be on fire again.

Bar owner Sheila Hillen:
Bar owner Sheila Hillen: "Not sectarian"

Pub owner Sheila Hillen denied Sinn Fein's claims that the arson attack was sectarian.

Sinn Fein councillor Martin Meehan said: "This is a nationalist bar and this was an attack on the nationalist community."

But Ms Hillen said: "As far as I am concerned this was not a sectarian attack.

"I do not think that anybody in Randalstown, or associated with Randalstown, would have anything sectarian to do with my business."

Sinn Fein's Martin Meehan:
Sinn Fein's Martin Meehan: "Loyalist attack on the nationalist community"

Meanwhile, it has been reported that firefighters from Kilkeel and Newcastle in County Down left their picket lines on Tuesday to free people from their vehicles after a road accident at Ballymartin.

Earlier, five firefighters held a demonstration outside Queen's University Belfast, where Sir George Bain is vice chancellor.

Sir George chaired a review into their pay claim.

He recommended that the firefighters should be offered 11% in return for modernisation of their service - considerably less than the 40% the firefighters have asked for.

The firefighters from the central fire station in Belfast held their protest outside the university's main gates and asked passers-by to sign a petition.

Further negotiations to try to end the firefighters' latest strike, now in the fifth day of eight days of planned action, are due to take place later on Tuesday.

Since security force personnel stepped in to provide fire cover in Northern Ireland after firefighters walked out last Friday there have been 646 emergency calls.

Of those 126 were hoaxes, 260 were genuine. Yellow goddess tenders were sent out 121 times.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Conor Macauley:
"It was too late to save the premises"
See also:

30 Oct 02 | N Ireland
09 Apr 02 | N Ireland
08 Mar 02 | N Ireland
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