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Irish Bishop concerned at sectarian attacks
    A Catholic bishop has contacted the head of the Royal Ulster Constabulary following a spate of sectarian attacks in a town in Northern Ireland.
    Bishop of Down and Connor Patrick Walsh said Catholics in Larne were living in fear and he called on the entire community to pull together.
    The police have said that 78 people were targeted in such attacks last year.
    Last week, two Catholic families had lucky escapes after pipe bombs were thrown at their homes.
    Bishop Walsh celebrated Mass at St MacNissi's Church on Monday morning to show support for the congregation.
    He said: "An individual family have the right to live where they choose free from intimidation and harassment."
    A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: "Bishop Walsh has consistently gone to be with people are suffering.
    "The purpose of his visit is to support the people of Larne, listen to them, celebrate Mass and bring spiritual consolation when they are under fear.
    "He feels the Catholics in Larne are suffering and he wants to assure them of his sympathy and support."
    The number of attacks in Larne have increased anxiety and tension in the town.
    Church leaders agree the only way to reduce that fear is for neighbours to support one another.
    Last week a local priest urged people who were targeted to leave the town.
   
BBC
   
17-Jan-01

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