Home attack linked to police meetings

By Evan Short

DISSIDENT republicans have been blamed for a weekend attack on the home of an Ardoyne community worker who has been the victim of an ongoing campaign of intimidation.

A large crowd of Ardoyne residents and politicians gathered outside Phyllis Doherty’s home last night (Wednesday) in a show of support for the 62-year-old organised by the Grace Women’s Group.

In the early hours of Sunday morning Phyllis returned from a family party to find her Brookfield Walk home had been defaced with graffiti accusing her of being a ‘tout’ and the house smeared with glue. Phyllis believes the attack is linked to her work with interface agencies and community groups who hold meetings with the PSNI.

It comes just nine months after walls in the area were sprayed making similar accusations against her.

But Phyllis told the North Belfast News that while she is shaken, she would not be put off living in the community where she grew up.

“I think these people want to see me dead,” she said. “I believe it’s the same people behind the graffiti last year, and I suppose it must be the same reasons. There’s been nothing since then but how can you stop it? They’re scum.”

She says the glue that was smeared over her home is a fire hazard.

“Ask yourself, what were they trying to do by pouring flammable liquid through my letterbox? These people seem to be able to do whatever they want to do. I’m not brave but I’ll stand up to them. I’ve stood up to the British Army, the B-Specials, the RUC and the loyalists and I’ll stand up to these scumbags as well.”

Speaking at the rally, Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry McCabe hit out at those responsible.

“What they are saying is that this is about talking to the cops,” he said. “Well, we are doing that in public to make sure the people of this area are getting a proper service. We do that in a public arena and anyone and everyone can come to the meetings to hear what we are saying to the cops.

“The difference between us and them is they are meeting cops in the dark entries of this area.”

Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon praised the work Phyllis has done over the years.

“Phyllis puts herself last and puts the people of this area first, and this is what she gets. These people are cowards,” she said.

Shauneen Baker from Grace Women’s Group said she was very pleased with the large turnout, given the short notice. She also praised Phyllis’ work.

The PSNI have appealed for information.

“Police in North Belfast are appealing for information after a report of criminal damage at residential premises in the Brookfield Walk area. Sometime overnight on Sunday 21st September, it was reported that a slogan was daubed on the front window of a house in the area. It is also believed that glue was placed on the front door and window of the premises. Police would appeal to anyone with any information to contact them on the non emergency number 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide their information without giving their details, Crimestoppers is on 0800 555 111.”

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