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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Home attacks self-inflicted - DUP
Ian Paisley Junior has been criticised by nationalist politicians
Ian Paisley Junior has been criticised by nationalist politicians
A senior DUP member has said some attacks on Catholic homes in north Antrim have been "self-inflicted".

Ian Paisley Junior, an assembly member in the area, said he stood by his remarks despite criticism from nationalist politicians.

In a statement to the BBC, he said "a considerable amount of the attacks" in north Antrim were "self-inflicted by republicans".

The area's policing plan has been suspended to deal with the attacks.

There have been several sectarian petrol bomb attacks in Ballymena in recent weeks.

'Judged on fact'

In a statement, Mr Paisley Jnr, said a recent paint bomb attack on Harryville Catholic Church in Ballymena "appears to be the work of republicans".

"This self-imposed attack is evidence that a considerable amount of the attacks recently carried out in north Antrim are not only self-inflicted by republicans but are part of an orchestrated effort by republicans to stir up sectarian activity to discredit the local unionist community."

He said Sinn Fein assembly member Philip McGuigan was "in a state of self-denial".

"He claims that in north Antrim the local Roman Catholic community is 'always under attack'. This is nonsense and it is now evident that the attacks are in fact carried out by republicans on Roman Catholics."

Speaking to the Belfast-based Irish News, Mr McGuigan said Mr Paisley would "be much better making his public comments judged on fact".

Local SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan said Mr Paisley Jnr was "making these judgements without any evidence and I don't think he's correct".

Ballymena district commander, Superintendent Terry Shevlin, said Mr Paisley Jnr's remarks were "not how I would particularly see it".

He told the paper: "I wouldn't say for one moment that those people targeted are perpetrators."

The area's 12-month policing plan had been "suspended for the near future", he said.

"I have earmarked investigative time and resources to this inquiry and I am determined to do all we can to bring this all to a halt."

Meanwhile, Ballymena's police commander Superintendent Terry Shevlin has said he has had to divert resources away from investigating drug crime to tackle a upsurge in sectarian attacks in the town.

"I have reconsidered some of the aspects of the plan to divert pro-active policing resources to deal with the sectarian issues that we have been facing in Ballymena north particularly," he said.

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