CAIN: Issues: Housing - Intimidation in Housing by John Darby (1974) - Chapter 5

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Intimidation in Housing
by John Darby (1974)

[Key_Events] Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]

Text: John Darby ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna
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Chapter 5

Family Case Studies

Of the hundreds of individual families who have been subjected to intimidation in housing and who have come to our attention from the files of the Emergency Housing Service, Supplementary Benefits, Belfast Housing Aid, Police and Army records, school attendance rolls, from Tenants' Associations and other Community Groups, from Legal Action groups, from Welfare Departments, from Church Organisations, and Community Development Officers of the Commission, a random (regular intervals) sample of 44 individual case studies was extracted. To prevent this Report from becoming too bulky a reduced sample of 22 summaries was chosen on the basis of a sample at regular intervals from these 44 case studies. From the point of view of validity these cases are on a random basis and are not exceptional or atypical. Each of the Community case study areas examined in this Report is represented in this sample, as well as a selection from outside these districts. The following is the numerical breakdown and notation applied.

.No. of family case studies in sample
No. of family
case studies in
reduced sample
B. The Bone
S. Suffolk/Dunmurry
D. Londonderry
C. Castlereagh/Cregagh
W. Willowfield/E Belfast
R. Rathcoole/Newtownabbey
G. General coverage (Belfast)

We wish to emphasise that the cast studies are largely based on information given to us by the families concerned. In many cases they were still suffering the effects of intimidation. We have checked the accuracy of statements as fully as time allowed, and have presented the cases as objectively as possible. Nevertheless information may have been recorded with may be emotively critical of government or local authorities agencies, the security forces voluntary bodies or individuals. We recognise fully the difficulties which such bodies have to face in trying to cope with the evil of intimidation and its far-reaching effects.

The reason for detailing these 22 case studies is two-fold. Firstly to indicate that statistics do not adequately reflect the degree of human misery which results from intimidation of families; and secondly as referrals to illustrate certain points which the Report attempts to clarify later in the text.


Date: August 12 1972     Formerly of Suffolk

Mr. A had lived in Home Drive for 10 years. The build-up of pressure in the West Belfast 'wedge' and the resulting conflict in the Lenadoon district had caused this to be a highly dangerous area for certain families to live in. Mr. A was shot at in his car one evening in mid- August 1971. Mr. A could not obtain emergency housing status, despite the fact that the Police were able to confirm the shooting incident, with the added justification that his street was an area of danger for Mr. A and his family to live in.

Because the intimidatory situation of Mr. A was proven beyond dispute, Mr A was able to arrange funds through the Belfast Rousing Aid Society for down payment for the purchase of a house in a 'safe area' in Dunmurry. Mr A is employed as a security officer after spending more that 20 years' service in the Police Force, and believes that this is probably the major reason why snipers attempted to kill him.


Date: September 15 1972     Formerly of Dunmurry district

Mr B and family, formerly lived on Blacks Road; his son is a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. During the previous 2 months there were 3 assassination attempts in the immediate locality, which were confirmed by the Police who advised Mr B to move away. However, the family was obliged to remain living in their home since they had no other accommodation to go to. The other immediate alternative was to squat. So despite the constant threat of serious injury or murder it was not for some months that this family was able to move by raising sufficient money for a down payment on another house in a 'safe area' in Dunmurry.


Date: August 29 1972     Formerly of Springfield Road

Mr and Mrs D are presently living in a small terrace house off the Falls Road. Previously Mr D owned a house, valued at £4,500 by the Housing Executive -"In comparison this place is a doghouse." His present abode is worth no more than £850 and is without bath or hot water.

At the end of August 1971 intimidation of families occurred in the Dunboyne Park area, and the D family began a series of moves

1st move To Mr D's father's house in St James' Place (not sufficiently large) where they stayed for 4 months.
2nd move The family moved to England but returned two months later owing to lack of job opportunities and shortage of accommodation
3rd move To Rockville St where their car was stolen 5 times and eventuall wrecked. They stayed there for 6 months in temporary accommodation.
4th move On June 1st they squatted in a house off the Falls Road which they had heard was up for sale.
5th move? Imminent: they are still looking for better living conditions in a safe' area.

The cost of moving furniture and moving the family to England, where his wife had hoped to settle, was £300. Mr D was unable to find a job. The family was unable to obtain any relief funds to compensate for the financial outlay involved.

The Housing Executive placed the family on the emergency housing list and offered them a house in Lisburn, but the family thought they would be moving into a similar intimidatory situation in the estate suggested and the offer was not taken up. At the date of the interview no word had been received about an alternative choice.

The Bank Manager would not give Mr D a loan on the basis of £4,500 House deeds as security (and the fact that he had been in a job for 18 years as an electrical engineer). Neither the Belfast Corporation or the Housing Executive wanted to buy the abandoned houses - and 26 or 28 families are in the same boat as Mr D - with their savings tied up in breeze-blocked houses. Mr D feels that he and his family are being forced to live in cramped conditions without the facilities which they had become used to. The house is not only too small for the number of people in the family but Mr D was also forced to sell much of his furniture and carpeting because of lack of storage space. This brought him a loss of £400-£500 alone. Besides the insecurity of having gunmen demanding use of the car for a couple of hours, the street is a poor environment to bring up children.

"Since moving the 8 years old daughter has been to 4 schools in a year and her education has become completely disrupted. She is not learning as quickly as she was before; she is completely mixed up; she doesn't know where she is."
At the date of interview, it was 13 months since this family had been forced out of their former home and it had still not received word about house compensation. The family is likely to move.... "for the fifth time in a year to try to get settled. And we know a lot more families like us."


Date: August 18 1972     Formerly of Castlereagh Estate

Mr and Mrs C have 6 children and live in a large council house. They are one of the few remaining minority families still living on the estate. The pattern of intimidation which they are experiencing usually does not involve direct personal confrontation; it is anonymous or caused by Tartan hooligans. There have been numerous instances of anonymous pressure - slogan painting outside the house; bottles through the windows; gangs out way past midnight; marching UDA patrols; hostility by youths both to parents and children; threatening phone calls; children beaten up by Tartans and threatened again and again; neighbours they have "known for years lowering their eyes in the street for fear of being intimidated themselves". Often roaming gangs of 12-20 youths came in from outside estates and proceed to threaten, disturb or damage people and property, on a sectarian basis. The PPA have called in the Police to visit the family on various occasions and the RUC officers have arrived promptly on the scene, have been polite, but have been unable to take effective action to protect the family.

Mrs C has been treated well by an officer of the Ladas Drive Police Station, and a telephone number (which proved to be the nearest Army post) was given by the RUC to Mrs C to be used in extreme emergency only. Normally they were advised that they should ring 999 not 55555 (the phone number of the Public Protection Agency). Mrs C concludes that this means that it is quicker to contact the Army direct rather than to go to the PPA and then have them phone the Army.

Why hasn't Mrs C and her family pulled out of the estate before now after this series of threats against her and other families in a minority position on the Estate?

1.   Because she has invested considerable time (16 years) in building up friendships in this Estate and knows it as her home.

2.   Because she has invested considerable money and love in her house and doesn't want to leave home.

3.   Because (and most important) she has a very large family, and has a house which although small is about adequate for their needs. What could they do if they found themselves on the street? Where would they go? Most of the houses at Twinbrook are too small for their family-size, even if they squatted. She can't get on the Emergency Housing List because people must be out of their homes already to qualify, and must prove that they have been intimidated out.

"With the present rules and regulations we can't get on any list."
She has been recognised as a transfer case high on the points scale.

The family are unwilling to impose themselves on relations. There is not sufficient capital available to qualify for a house mortgage, and anyway the husband is too old for a house loan. Mrs C is desperate because her family is living in fear day and night, and "10 weeks of trying with all the Agencies who are supposed to help people in an emergency like this has brought us very little hope of anything being done."


Date: early November 1972     Living off Woodstock Road

Mr P is a widower with three children. His son who is 19 years of age had been roughed up and threatened. He has decided to go to London, His daughters aged around 20 years have decided to leave for Cork. Mr P has a job and many friends and has lived all his life in the district. He does not wish to leave but does not want to be separated from his daughters. His house is in the path of the planned Ring Road for East Belfast, so no one wants to buy his house. To obtain compensation it would have been necessary for him to advertise his house for sale for a number of months before the Authorities would consider purchasing it.

At this time the Housing Executive was unable to help him because his family had not moved from their home. Belfast Housing Aid could not help him because he intends moving to the South. This family lives in constant fear of being victims of murder squads recently operating close by, and have in fact been intimidated. But there is no official help available for a family in this situation. Mr P is likely to abandon his home and be supported by his daughters who have obtained jobs in Cork.


Date: October 5 1972     Formerly of Rathcoole

4 February 1972 - Sgt R visiting the family socially. At 12 p.m. two bricks came through the window. Police from York Road RUC came up to investigate, took a statement down and said that an eye would be kept on things. The Police then left. About 1.00 am two more bricks through the window. Sgt R and Mr S gave chase to two men and followed them to a house in Weaver Street. The Police again came to investigate but since Mr S could not identify the men they had followed the Police were unable to conclude that intimidation had taken place.

The house has been up for sale since July 1972 through an Estate Agent. Window breaking in the area may have done much to reduce the price and desirability of houses. A prospective buyer subsequently backed out of buying the house.

On 8 July 1972 the family went on 3 week holiday in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone, and notified York Road police that the house would be vacant for 3 weeks, On 28 July the York Road police contacted the Pomeroy police to contact Mr and Mrs S about a fire at their house which had received £800 structural damage as a result of the petrol bomb.

Mr and Mrs S were now homeless, and were obliged to live with friends on Kansas Avenue for 3 weeks. Police had records of what had happened, but could not report that intimidation had occurred - "malicious vandalism" was the opinion given,so Mr S could not get on to the Emergency Housing list.

On 29 July Mr S negotiated with the Housing Executive about where to live permanently. He wished to move to the Antrim Road or Glengormley, but the Housing Executive had difficulty in helping him. It took two weeks to get assurances from York Road police station that the homelessness of the S family had been caused by a malicious fire. The Police still refused to recognise that intimidation of the S family had taken place. Because he believed that his claim for emergency housing status was justified, and was dissatisfied with the Police conduct of his case, Mr S contacted his solicitor. A few days later York Road police stated that "the files had been mixed up with someone else's and there had been a mistake". Later Police letters were sent out confirming that intimidation had in fact occurred.

Mid-August - Mr and Mrs S squatted in a private house off Crumlin Road and subsequently were offered a maisonette in Craigavon, or one in another part of Rathcoole. Later he was offered a maisonette in Moyard Park. "Who'd go to live in New Barnsley with all the bullets flying there?"

The Housing Executive later offered to rent Mr S a £4,000 home anywhere he chooses - not necessarily a housing estate. Mr S chose a house; Housing Executive surveyors offered the owner £3,750, but he refused this offer; so Mr S had to start going through the whole search again for another house. In early October Mr S remained squatting in a house off the Crumlin Road.


Date: August 16 1972     Formerly of Alliance Parade locality

Mrs T formerly lived near Alliance Parade in a house in a mixed environment and which was rented from the Belfast Corporation. At the date of interview she was living in Ballymena Street in The Bone. Day to day life in the Alliance district deteriorated drastically since August 1971, according to Mrs T. She lived in an intimidatory situation for almost a year - threatening letters, "crowds of rowdies", bottles thrown through windows, UDA barricades, children being beaten. She made several statements to the police at Glenravel Police Station, who advised her to leave because life had become unbearable for a minority family living in this district.

On June 13th 1972 Mrs T was forced out of her home, the mob threatening to burn her out and stoning the removal van which came up to move out her furniture. Mrs T found a house in the "Bally Bone", which had been half destroyed by its former occupants who had been intimidated out of it. She fixed up a front door and squatted in this house. In seeking help from various relief agencies, Mrs T "walked miles between different offices in Belfast and spent a fortune on phone calls". She was put on the Emergency Housing list in mid-August, but in the meantime was obliged to squat in an empty house.

"Where did they expect me to live all that time? On a park bench." (Mrs T)
Mrs T believes this area of "The Bone" is a poor environment in which to bring up children - it is dangerous, and dirty for children to play on the streets, wasteground or derelict houses; it is even more unsafe for adults generally, and especially at night. She has seen her children become wilder and less disciplined. The house is in poor condition, it is too small, and not worth investing a penny in, in her opinion. It does not belong to Mrs T and she feels insecure as a squatter.


Dates: August 4 and 18 1972     Of Castlereagh Estate

August 4
Mrs F lives with her husband and children and her father. She was at a stage of almost complete mental breakdown when interviewed - she was at first calm, then shaking and crying and unable to reason. Mrs F wants to get out as soon as possible because of the direct and open hostility, and indirect intimidation, over the past year. Mrs F has had to put herself under the treatment of her doctors - because of her nervous state she is taking heavy doses of tranquillisers. Instances of intimidation had not been reported to the police because Mrs F was worried it would get worse if she did.

The interview was terminated because Mrs F was clearly too unstable at the time to be able to answer questions.

August 18
Two weeks later Mrs F was interviewed again. She appeared to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and was in state of shock and worry verging on panic. Her son (16) had had his life threatened by an anonymous caller, and by Tartans around the estate. She wanted to move out as soon as possible but other than squatting, "which isn't proper", she saw no alternative to her present accommodation. The pattern of pressure had taken the form of escalation from unfriendliness of neighbours, anonymous letters, and the children being beaten.

Mrs F is unable to make any decisions because of her state of mind; her husband is only now coming to the realisation that intimidation in the estate will not "blow away". So many Catholic families have moved out that the remaining families are becoming more vulnerable to attack. Co Down Welfare Department was helping this family.. "but under the present system... .are unable to provide the advice and help needed on an integrated basis to overcome the problems of a family in this position" (Agency Interview 2). At the date of interview Mr and Mrs F had not been admitted to the Emergency Housing List because the family were remaining in their home.


Date: September 4 1972     Formerly of Suffolk

Living in a zone of friction in the Suffolk estate, Mr and Mrs S have been caught in riot and crossfire situations. They have also experienced fear because of threats made to their children and hostility by local residents. This is a typical "borderline" case; it is not possible for staff of the Housing Executive Emergency Housing Service to recognise the case of Mr and Mrs S as one of intimidation; yet this family is adamant that it is too dangerous for them to live in this district, and their intention is to move out no matter what hardship may result.

According to Mr S what is required from agencies in emergency situations is flexibility and willingness to concede that in a district where intimidation of minority families is rampant, or where homes are situated in a free-fire zone, then families living in an intimidatory situation deserve help in finding alternative homes.


Date: July 7 1972     Formerly of Suffolk

In early June two men came to the door and told Mrs T A to leave the district. She told them she was of their persuasion; but they said she had relatives from the "other side". Milk bottles thrown at the house the next day indicated that it was too serious to risk staying there. The family decided to squat in a private house off Premier Drive (off York Road). The Housing Executive responded very quickly to a Police Report confirming intimidation - and the family was on the Emergency List within a week (and given caretaker's agreement). Later the family was able to purchase the house with help from the Belfast Housing Aid Society and the Housing Executive. The Agencies acted quickly and efficiently in this case study.


Date: early January 1972     Formerly of Mary Street

The son of Mr V was threatened when coming from Church on the 2 January 1972; he was assaulted on the evening of the 4 January whilst returning home in the company of his father. An older son who is now with the RAF Police in England was formerly a B Special in the city, although this was only for the 6 months period before disbandment. After disbandment he became an RUC Reserve Constable for a period before moving to England. In recent evenings the mother has been abused as she came home from work.

The only way the family can go home is either by Bishop Street/Barrack Street or Maureen Avenue, and they felt that they were in danger either way.

This case of alleged intimidation was reported to the Police and was investigated. Mr V and his son made statements to substantiate the complaint. The son received severe bruising to his face for which he was treated at hospital. When seen by the Police he had two black eyes.

The Police assisted Mr V to meet an agent who might be able to sell their home. However the prospect of Mr V buying a new house is remote, because he is now earning only half the wages he was getting a few years ago.

The Police have confirmed that the instances of intimidation did occur but the Emergency Housing Service at this time could not help the V family because of the stipulation that a family must be out of i t s home before it can be admitted to the Emergency Housing List.


Date: August 29 1972     Formerly of Dunboyne Park

27 September 1971: Left a house in Dunboyne Park valued at £4,500 which has still not been sold. Great disruption to household economy because they have never received a penny in compensation and Mr G owned the house outright. Recently his wife "went to the SDLP to get some action, but no joy."

Mr G was offered a house in an estate in Dunmurry but "this would have been like jumping from the frying pan into the fire", and so by his own enquiries he found the present house for his family because the Agencies were so slow in offering anything realistic. He is presently living in a street off the Springfield Road.

A rough estimate of loss of household possessions is £300-£400. Mr G has a record of everything lost or damaged by vandals and thieves, with dates of loss of every item. Springfield Road RUC Barracks also has a record of the items lost.

"Coming into a smaller house from a bigger one, things have to be left behind or got rid of. All the windows at the house in Dunboyne Park were shattered by bombs, so vandals could get in and steal even when the place was boarded up. The first time I went back to board up our house I was arrested on suspicion of bomb making or hiding explosives in the empty house, and was interrogated for 8 hours by the Paras."
[Mr G provided the interviewer with a record detailing 20 separate instances of vandalism and theft at his former home between August 1971 and August 1972. Damage and loss of property totalled over £350 during this period.]

Mr G put in a claim with solicitors, who told him recently that legally he should have reported everything within 48 hours. Mrs X from the Springfield Road would act as witness, though she is worried that her family will be intimidated if she has to come out in open court. There has been a big drop in living standards, and the family "still want to move to somewhere with a garden and mod cons, and a garage, bathroom and better place for the kids to play. The solicitors didn't seem to want to take much interest in the whole thing; so I don't know where I stand."

His house is lying empty and its condition is deteriorating. It is impossible to sell and cannot be used as security for a loan. "The Corporation or Housing Executive won't buy it. There is no sign of any kind of compensation, I'm 57 years old so I can't get a building society loan. I can't get a new house till I sell the old one. The education of my kids has been disrupted. The bomb blasts and army saracens have disturbed the younger boy's nerves so badly that he's never able to sleep on his own. All the kids around the neighbourhood are the tough, effing and blinding type children, and there is a very definite difference between them and the kids they always used to play with in school and nearby."

"The most heartbreaking thing is not just losing a home but to see it gradually vandalised and wrecked, thieves breaking in and taking household goods and fittings because there is nowhere else to store things. It is very depressing that people who should be helping are rather working against me and people in similar situations."


Date: August 10 1972     Formerly of Rathcoole

In early August 1972 4 hooded men called at the hone of Mrs Mc and told her she had to get out in the next 2 days or be shot. On previous occasions since January 1972 windows had been broken; parents were scared to go out at night because of roaming gangs; the children lived in fear of "being set on by other kids in the area so they were too frightened to go out of the house except to school." The Army had a full report on this case and gave the family protection and helped Mr and Mrs Mc to move out of the district on 10 August. Phone calls were made to the PPA (55555) and a statement was made to Whiteabbey Police Barracks. The RUC confirmed that reports had been made but stated that "enquiries in the area failed to substantiate the allegations" and were unable to say that the McC's were in fact intimidated. Mr and Mrs McC were therefore unable to get on the Emergency Housing List, despite the fact that they were prompt rent payers and held a longstanding tenancy.

To date they have received £20 assistance from the Belfast Telegraph Relief Fund, and are squatting in Upper Meadow Street in temporary accommodation. If further representations for confirmation by the police are fruitful then the prospects of help seem good.


Date: August 16 1972     Formerly from Rathcoole

Mr and Mrs H have been squatting in this house since 2 August 1972. The Whiteabbey Police report requested by the Housing Executive to confirm intimidation of families was negative.

According to Mr and Mrs H intimidation in Rathcoole began 11/2 years ago when a bomb blast wrecked the Whiteabbey telephone exchange. In the time which followed teenage mobs began to intimidate by gang action, slogan painting, bottle throwing, warning letter sending, and barricade building at intervals every few weekends.

This escalated when the the older son was beaten and had to be sent out of the district to live with a married sister of the family. Mrs H was ignored at the shops; the two younger sons got beaten; former friends of the children were intimidated; the daughters were beaten. In the end the children weren't allowed out except to go to school. Mr H stated that "After they got the kids the campaign against the adults began. Windows were broken in mid-February. These incidents were reported to the police on various occasions and suspects' names given to the police - but no action was taken about anything until the Headmaster of the local school had to send for the Police to protect the children being stoned and beaten on the way home from school."

Mr and Mrs H stated that further anxiety and disquiet was aroused amongst minority families in the Rathcoole estate. "On the day following the Van guard strike after Direct Rule, six youths were let of lightly in court in petrol bomb charges. So in the end we get fed up trying to bring the gang intimidation to the police because about nine-tenths of the police don't want to know. I have no faith in the Police. Very little. At the finish the Tartan gangs really and truly took over Rathcoole. If the Police had stopped them in the beginning then it would have been stopped there and then. But they got away with it so they went to further extremes, and became so many that even the Police were scared to tackle them. And the Army did nothing because the policy was to 'cool the situation' so as not to antagonise the majority." (Mr H)

At the end of April 1972 these incidents of intimidation were reported to Police. In the middle of March a mob came with a rope. The following day (March 17th, 1972) Mr and Mrs H moved out of the house in which they had been living for 6 years. It was a good house with 2 weeks' rent paid in advance, and with new kitchen units installed. The day the H family moved out the RDA changed the locks and put in a family on a pre-arranged basis, who are still squatting there as far as is known. Mr and Mrs H were never given protection by Police or Army in Rathcoole. As far as Mr and Mrs H could determine no action was taken against the names reported to the Police, who refused to recognise that the family had been intimidated. Thus this family could not get on the Emergency Housing List.

[NOTE:] Since this interview the Housing Executive have made their own investigations and have recognised that the H family have been intimidated and so have put them on the Emergency Housing List.


Dates: August 22 and 29. Phone Sept. 11     Formerly of Rathcoole

This is a mixed marriage and for 11 years Mr and Mrs M lived formerly in Rathcoole. Previous to the dates indicated below there was a gradual worsening of hostilities in the Estate. The dates itemised are by no means a complete list.

June 26
Car tyres slash by unknown persons. Case reported to the police.
July 3
11.30 pm
Windows smashed. Police came, took report and measured the windows.
July 4 Further threats - slogan painting and verbal.
July 6 Mrs M rang Citizens' Advice Bureau, and was referred to the Public Protection Agency.
July 11 Mr M had an interview with the Police at York Road. The RUC stated that they could confirm the incidents but could not state intimidation had in fact taken place. After this Mr M went to the Housing Executive. Nothing could be done for this family in the circumstances.
July 11 Mrs M went to the Development Advice Centre, Linenhall Street, which was unable to help her. Mr M began to search for a house himself.
July 25 Went to CAB in Bryson House.
July 26 Wrote letter to Belfast Housing Aid.
Aug 7 Went again to CAB.
Aug 8 Mr and Mrs M interviewed at the offices of the Belfast Housing Aid Society. Mr M eventually found himself a house, but there was difficulty in getting on the Emergency Housing List due to lack of a police report confirming that intimidation had taken place.
Aug 8-31 Mr and Mrs M were shuffled backwards and forwards between different agencies and became totally frustrated and angry.
Sept 1 Mr M went into Belfast to fill in more forms. He now sees filling in forms or trying to get help or advice from Government emergency agencies designed to serve the needs of the intimidated citizen "as a total confusion and useless exercise. I am completely disenchanted with Police and public services."


Date: September 21 1972     Off Rathcoole

The H family have been living in the house 14 years, with a regular record of rent paying. The two younger children were often beaten on the way back from school. Now parents have to take them to and from school. Since Direct Rule began intimidation has gradually escalated.

"Names called to kids, names called to parents, lies were told, rumours went around and slogans were painted. Tartan crowds stoned the kids; then the children were beaten on way home; so a month ago we reported all this to the local copshop. All we got was a cup of tea and not very much sympathy."
A threatening letter was sent (Mrs H knows the person who sent it) and Mr H rang 55555 (the Public Protection Agency). A neighbour wrote a report to the police about windows broken on 11 July. Around mid- August Mr and Mrs H, following a spate of intimidation, asked Newtownabbey Friendship Group for help. Following representations the Police arrived, but Mrs H maintains that they did not take a statement or make a report, and were unsympathetic with the plight of the family.

Because of all the worries of living in the neighbourhood, and because parents are at their wits end, the eldest daughter has been taken into hospital with severe headaches and blackouts. The doctor has put the eldest son on phenobarbitone. Police refused to confirm that intimidation of the H family had occurred.

Also in mid-August Mr H phoned the PPA at 55555. The PPA sent out a man, and Mr H got Housing Executive forms. A few days later Mr and Mrs H were offered a house at Ballyhenry (outside Glengormley). Ballyduff (Monkstown) was also suggested as a possible location for housing in 6 months (ordinary transfer). These offers were refused. "Both were out of the question with reports coming in each week about intimidation there." So the family is still stuck in the house in Rathcoole and is scared to death about what might happen next".


Date: August 1 1972     Formerly of Newtownabbey

This is a mixed marriage which faced intimidation on a scale similar to the family in Case Study R4. This family got out in a hurry around 12 July. They had not reported the incidents of intimidation to the local police because they had the impression that this would not do any good anyway.

Mr and Mrs B had difficulty in deciding where to go - clearly they wanted to avoid intimidation similar to that experienced in the Newtownabbey area. Eventually after squatting in one house the B family moved with their 5 children to squat in an abandoned house in Upper Meadow Street. Mr and Mrs B are trying to keep it a secret that theirs is a mixed marriage. So the B family are forced to remain squatting at their present location until Mr B can find a more suitable place to live in. "But we're faced by the problem that there are very few 'safe areas' for a mixed marriage family."

A t this point the family reported the incidences to the local police who confirmed that these events had taken place. The Housing Executive has now admitted the B family to the Emergency List.


Date: Mid-October 1972     Formerly of Willowfield

Mr Mc has 15 separate intimidation complaints since January 1st 1972 on file with Willowfield RUC. Mr Mc contacted the PPA, and the case was directly transferred to the RUC or the Army.

In the case of Mr and Mrs Mc it took the Army 10-20 minutes to get to his shop next to RUC Willowfield Barracks from Short Strand. By this time 27 shots had been fired into his shop/residence. The family also alleged that there was a later example of an Army patrol standing by whilst the mob set fire to the family shop and burned the business and home to the ground. (This was denied by Life Guard Command at Short Strand.) This example of intimidation was extensively reported in the Press and TV, and Mr Mc believes his case brings into focus a situation which is facing many Catholic residents in Willowfield, and could well befall those still remaining if strong security force presence in the district is not made available.

The interviewer was told

"Your report can't do much to help me now, but there are others who might be saved from a similar fate."


Date: October 10 1972     Formerly of Beechfield Street

Mr D R was coerced into leaving his home due to a combination of threats and acts of physical violence. These were related to the fact that he was a member of the UDR - a number of letters and notes had been dropped through his letter box referring to this, and threatening death and destruction to him and his family. Mr D R was also forcibly removed from his vehicle by a gang of men and threats made against him whilst he was "roughed up".

He had been fired at twice by unknown snipers. He reported all these incidents to the Police at Mountpottinger RUC barracks. Mr D R has not yet left his house and so was not entitled to help from the Housing Executive Emergency Housing Services. However his family has received a grant of £150 and a loan of £200 from Housing Aid funds towards the purchase of a house in Carnmoney. (Note: Emergency Housing status was later obtained with the Housing Executive after the family moved out of their former home and stayed with relatives.)


Date: January 19 1972     Of Londonderry*

Mr A has a son in the Army and this boy was 'passing out' on the 28 January 1973 from Ballymena. He would then be entitled to 4 weeks' leave before posting to England.

There were 5 other children in the family and one of these boys, John aged 15, had his face burned on Sunday 16th January by some youths. Gas liquid was sprayed in his face as he was lighting a cigarette. Mrs A is suffering with nerves because of the fear of what might happen to the other members of her family, quite apart from her son in the Army.

Mr A has been on rent strike because of the pressure to do so in the area but he is prepared to pay up all his arrears.

This case of alleged intimidation was reported to the Police. In his statement Mr A declared that he is afraid to let his son come home, for his own and that of his family's safety. He also stated that another son received burns to his face on January 16 and that some time ago windows were broken in the house. Mrs A is suffering from bad nerves owing to this trouble.

(Subsequently the family were promptly moved to accommodation provided for them in the Clooney Estate by the Housing Executive.)

*Interview conducted by area CD officer.


Date: May 22 1972     Of Londonderry*

Mr McM and his wife, and the 6 unmarried members of his family, live in the Creggan Estate. Mr Mc has been regularly paying his rent. Two weeks previously a bullet was fired through the window, and the 18 year old son was beaten up. On Sunday evening, May 21, this son was picked up by men claiming to be Official IRA, along with another young man while they were playing football. They were hooded, put in a car, and driven around Creggan Estate. Later they were taken into a room, and questioned about a robbery at a garage in Strand Road on April 26. The two lads denied the offence, but the interrogators said they were lying. After two hours they were taken back to the car, driven around again, and then let out. The youths were ordered to return for further questioning at 6.30 pm the following day.

When this was related to the parents they were almost out of their minds with fear. When interviewed the following day Mr Mc was so emotionally distressed that a person from the Welfare Department in Derry was asked to continue the interviewing later.

A telephone call was made on behalf of this family to the Housing Office of the Londonderry Development Commission, to see if they had any accommodation available, for it was clear that the family wanted to get out of the Creggan as soon as possible.

Certain groups were asked to visit the family, and to see if they could contact the Officials to call off their men.

(Subsequently the two boys decided to go and live at K village, and Mr M and the rest of the family have decided to move to S village.)

*Interview conducted by area CD officer.

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