42 Mid Ulster families forced out due to intimidation

Paramilitary intimidation
Paramilitary intimidation

Dungannon and Mid Ulster residents are still living in the shadow of gunmen, as well as gangsters and racists, after it was revealed that at least 42 local families have been intimidated from their homes.

Worryingly, the latest government figures show that the Mid Ulster district had one of the highest incidences of racially motivated intimidation in Northern Ireland.

At least 12 local families have been chased from their homes because of their race, according to figures released by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The data also reveals a high level of paramilitary threats with almost 50 percent of all homelessness in the Mid Ulster area blamed on paramilitary or sectarian intimidation.

In spite of the peace process it would seem that many residents are still living in fear of paramilitaries.

Anti-social behaviour was another reason why local families were forced onto the street.Due to reporting restrictions to protect the identities of vulnerable families, the actual figures are slightly higher.

Investigative news website the Detail has shown the figures to Lord Alderdice, who was a leading member of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) which reported on paramilitary activity for the British and Irish governments from 2004-2011.

The former Alliance leader responded to the figures by raising concerns over the scale of paramilitary intimidation at such an advanced stage of the peace process. He said the data showed that society still had to address the legacy of the Troubles.

Across Northern Ireland, most of the intimidation occurred in loyalist or unionist areas, with Lisburn and Castlereagh reporting the highest levels, followed by North Belfast.

The figures show that in nearly 900 of the Northern Ireland-wide cases where paramilitary intimidation was reported, the Housing Executive was obliged to seek new accommodation for individuals deemed to be at risk of death or serious injury if they returned to their homes.

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “We have a statutory duty to provide housing for people who find themselves in this situation and this does provide further pressures on limited resources and social housing.

“The Housing Executive has had to directly deal with the consequences of community conflict in Northern Ireland since it was created in 1971. It is obviously very concerning that in 2015 many families are still coming to us for help because they feel insecure in their own homes.”