Intimidation rife in Mid Ulster area

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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.

The latest 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 NI 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 seems 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 said the data showed that society still had to address the legacy of the Troubles.

Across the province, 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 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.