A WEST Belfast councillor has said someone could be killed unless more is done to crack down on the number of violent assaults in Lenadoon. Sinn Féin representative for the area Gerard O’Neill was speaking after a local father-of-two was viciously assaulted outside his Corrib Avenue home in Lenadoon just days after two of his neighbours were attacked by a drunken gang in an outrage we reported on last week.
Baker Pól McCullough, 24, was waiting for an early morning taxi to work when he was set upon by two men wearing black coats and hooded tops.
The pair hit Pól over the head with a bottle, leaving him with a black eye and requiring stitches.
The vicious attack happened just two days after fellow Corrib Avenue residents Martin Burke-Corcoran and Elizabeth O’Connor were violently assaulted and robbed by a gang of men claiming to be from Lenadoon Óglaigh na hÉireann – a claim that was rejected by dissident republicans.
“I was just leaving the back gate to wait for my taxi and I noticed two fellas standing there,” Pól recalls.
“As I opened the gate they struck me on the head with the bottle. I dropped to my hands and knees and when I tried to get up again they kicked me in the face. I can’t remember getting back into the house, but I managed to get back inside and call the police.”
Pól said he was told by police that there could be a connection between the successive Corrib Avenue assaults.
“The pair who attacked me didn’t say they were from ONH, all they said was that they knew where I lived,” he said.
“I didn’t recognise them at all, but I want them brought to justice for what they did.”
Speaking about the latest attack, Councillor O’Neill said statutory agencies needed to “step up to the plate” to tackle the escalating violence before “something more serious happens”.
“We could be looking at a death here if these unprovoked, violent attacks are allowed to continue,” he said.
“There is growing concern among residents in Lenadoon about the flats at Corrib Avenue as they do not seem to be properly secured or maintained. The PSNI need to work with statutory agencies to tackle this problem as it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone loses their life.”
Police in West Belfast said they were not treating the Corrib Avenue assaults as related. “Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact police at Woodbourne on 0845 600 8000 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111,” said a police spokesperson.