UFF were not responsible for attack on woman’s home, says DUP man

The scene of Sunday evening's sectarian attack at Summer Street, north Belfast. Pic: Rebecca Black/PA Wire
The scene of Sunday evening's sectarian attack at Summer Street, north Belfast. Pic: Rebecca Black/PA Wire

A DUP councillor in north Belfast has called on Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin to withdraw comments she made claiming the UFF was responsible for a sectarian attack on a grieving woman’s home in the Lower Oldpark area.

A number of men reportedly ordered the woman, whose son passed away last week, to leave her Summer Street home on Sunday evening.

Cllr Dale Pankhurst

Cllr Dale Pankhurst

Windows were later smashed and a sectarian slur was scrawled on a wall at the property.

A statement issued by Caral Ni Chuilin condemning the incident claimed police had confirmed UFF involvement in the attack. However, a statement issued by the PSNI didn’t corroborate her claims, saying only that investigating officers are “working to establish a motive.”

After speaking to police about the attack and Ms Ni Chuilin’s subsequent comments, DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst said he’d received confirmation that no paramilitary group was responsible.

He condemned the attack on the woman’s home, saying that no one should be subjected to such intimidation, and called on Caral Ni Chuilin to withdraw her remarks about the UFF.

“Speculation that this attack was carried out by a particular group is unhelpful and could raise tensions in the area,” he said. “I would ask Caral Ni Chuilin to withdraw her comments.

“Lower Oldpark is trying to move on as a community and we will be trying to build relationships with the police to ensure that these sorts of things don’t happen, because it is totally wrong.”

Earlier Ms Ni Chuilin had issued a statement saying: “Police have confirmed that the loyalist paramilitary group, the UFF, threatened a woman and ordered her to leave her home in Oldpark today.

“Only hours later her home was attacked and the windows of her home were smashed.

“These shameful and depraved actions were carried in the full knowledge that her son, who died tragically last Thursday, was due to be waked from the family home.”

However, after his meeting with police, Cllr Pankhurst took to Twitter to hit out at the Sinn Fein MLA’s comments.

“Just out of a lengthy round table meeting with the police regarding the incident in Lower Oldpark last night. No group was responsible and it is totally wrong of an MLA to speculate. Such speculation could lead to further incidents and I call on SF to withdraw their comments,” he said.

A statement issued by the PSNI said: “Enquiries into this incident are ongoing and at an early stage and we are working to establish a motive.

“We would like to hear from anyone who has information in relation to this incident and can assist our investigation to contact us on 101.”

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