Courtroom clashes spill on to Belfast streets
Wednesday 14 September 1994
The security forces fired plastic bullets after a petrol bomb was thrown following the expulsion of 40 loyalists from the court building in an attempt to keep rival factions apart.
Hundreds of soldiers and policemen were called in. At one point masked men carrying cudgels and pickaxes joined a group of women to block the Crumlin Road outside the courtroom. Two vehicles were later hijacked on the Shankill Road, the Protestant centre of west Belfast. As they watched a hijacked van smouldering in the street behind the court, residents of a nearby Protestant estate accused the security forces of victimisation and brutality. They insisted Catholics had packed the trial of Stephen Larkin to prevent Protestants from getting in.
The rival groups swore and jeered at each other in court when loyalists asked Mr Justice Liam McCollum to dismiss and attempted murder charge against Mr Larkin, from Ardoyne, Belfast. He is accused of attempting to murder Johnny Adair. The case was adjourned until today after the violence broke out.
'The RUC are going into courts telling lies about Protestants,' one middle- aged man said. One civilian and three police officers were slightly injured. There were no arrests.
Last night Loyalist gangs set fire to four vehicles on roads around the Shankill following a Protestant demonstration. A police spokesman said: 'There have been four incidents of shots being fired agaist the security forces.'
In a separate incident, a 25-year-old man was shot in the leg last night when masked gunmen broke into a house in a mainly Protestant estate in Glengormley, north Belfast. Violent loyalist groups have been active in the mixed suburb.
Meanwhile, garda forensic experts believe the use of old unreliable commercial explosive in a bomb attack by the Ulster Volunteer Force, a loyalist paramilitary group, on a Belfast to Dublin train on Monday probably averted a major disaster.
The shoe-box bomb in a black bag failed to explode when only the detonator went off as the train pulled into Dublin's Connolly station. Tests showed it contained powergel, a gelignite-type explosive used in quarries in Britain. Initially it was thought the device was little more than a firecracker. The explosive was the same as that used in the failed attack on the Widow Scallans pub in inner-city Dublin in May. The bomber may have put the bomb on the train in Belfast and then got off at Lisburn.
Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, the Irish justice minister, yesterday met Patrick Culligan, the Garda Commissioner, to hear an assessment of the increased loyalist threat.
An Irish cabinet meeting later heard proposals for tighter border surveillance, including extended aerial observation and more garda checks points in and around Dublin and other major cities in the Republic.
Mrs Geoghegan-Quinn said every possible precaution was being taken to protect the public. She dismissed suggestions by Unionists that loyalist violence was being provoked by the Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, pushing 'too far too fast' to tie Sinn Fein into the political process after the IRA ceasefire.
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
PAs cleared of fraud - and Nigella Lawson left reeling at 'ridiculous sideshow' of drug allegations and public dissection of marriage to Charles Saatchi
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: PHP Deve...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...