We look back at the stories that were making the headlines in the Andersonstown News this week in 1979
British Army harassment increases in West Belfast
THERE has been a sharp increase in incidents of British Army and RUC harassment of the Catholic people, following the recent Dublin/London ‘security’ talks and the visit to Ireland of Pope John Paul II.
Reports of beatings, screenings and general annoying of people in nationalist areas have been received in the Andersonstown News office; and there appears to be a complete return to the Kitson tactic of “squeezing the Catholics”.
One particular brutal example of the terror tactics was the savage treatment meted out to a Turf Lodge man by the RUC and the British Army. Mr Sean Flynn was waiting for a taxi in Castle Street on Monday October 3 when he was called over to an unmarked car occupied by RUC men, one of whom was in uniform. He was pulled into the car and butted in the face by the uniformed man.
One of the plainclothes men beat him with a baton and he was then thrown from the car. He lost two teeth, his face was swollen and he was badly bruised about the head and shoulders. Before going to the hospital he made an official complaint at Andersonstown RUC barracks where he was verbally abused by British soldiers present.
On Saturday October 6 Mr Flynn went to visit his brother in Springhill accompanied by his wife and three children. As they left the house at about 1am they were stopped by British troops who said that they were arresting Mr Flynn, who was opening the door of his car.
The soldiers jammed his arm in the car door, they then pulled him over to their jeep and started to beat him up and to throttle him. When Mrs Flynn saw this she jumped into the car after him and the soldiers then arrested the children and took the whole family to the Henry Taggart base. Mr Flynn and his three-year-old son were taken inside but Mrs Flynn and her young daughters were refused admission. The RUC men and soldiers inside the base said that they didn’t want Mr Flynn at all and he and his son were both released.
Other victims of the latest terror were the Johnston family of Rodney Drive. Following the shooting of a undercover British soldier on Whiterock Road last Monday, a group of soldiers entered the Johnston home and beat up Mr Johnston while carrying out a search. They then arrested Mr and Mrs Johnston and their five children and took them to Springfield Road RUC barracks where they were questioned. Mrs Johnston and the children were taken out to the yard behind the barracks where they were made to stand facing a wall for two hours.
Do’s and don’ts to protect yourself from loyalist killer gangs
Following the renewal of the Loyalist/British assassination campaign, people are being asked to exercise the greatest caution in an attempt to protect themselves against the killers.
1. If you travel to work via Loyalist areas, try to vary that route and/the times.
2. People who have glass front doors should drape these with heavy curtains through which light does not penetrate.
3. Don’t answer a knock at the door without first positively identifying the person at the door.
4. Tutor your children in these precautionary measures as well, make sure that they are aware of the identity of the caller.
5. Be wary of strangers in either motorcars or on cycles who may approach you on the street, if they ask the directions to a particular address in the area, tell them you do not know.
6. Suspicious cars or motorcycles roaming the area should be reported locally.
7. If you are travelling anywhere do not get into a taxi that has another passenger in it. Sit directly behind the driver if possible, watch the route taken by the taxi to your destination.
8. Make absolutely certain your house is secure back and front. Glass your yard wall, make sure windows are locked.
Over 700 Catholics have been assassinated since 1972.
Ladybrook buses row
THE residents of Ladybrook are up in arms about the buses.
The Citybus service which operates into the estate caters for people from Willowvale and Brooke, as well as Ladybrook, but there are groups of pros and antis concerning the buses.
One group does not want the buses running into the estate and especially through Ladybrook Parade and Crescent. The other group insists that the buses should be left alone. On the other hand the pros group state that with the winter coming in, to expect children to walk onto the Andersonstown Road from the top of Ladybrook in bad weather is ridiculous. They also say that any accidents that have happened to children are as a result of cars not buses.
They say that the largest threat to children in the area are the unthinking people who create a hazard every night by leaving their cars parked outside their houses instead of using driveways which every house has.
Mr Huebeck in a reply to the anti-group has stated that there is no alternative route for the buses. The buses were introduced almost 10 years ago, after a survey by the Ratepayers Association showed that a large majority wanted the service. The route was agreed by the RUC road traffic branch and Citybus.
There was a dispute at the time when one-man buses were introduced, and the buses could not reverse without assistance. So the route was altered to ensure that reversing became unnecessary.
The anti-bus group say that Ladybrook is unsuitable for a bus route and they felt that there may be a fatal accident before action will be taken. They concede that because there are no taxis running Iin the area the bus service is availed of fully.