Leave me in peace pleads RIRA widow

Leave me in peace pleads RIRA widow
Irish News
03.11.00.
By Liz Trainor

THE widow of Real IRA member Joe O’Connor has pleaded to be “left in peace” claiming she is the victim of an orchestrated hate campaign.

Nicola O’Connor (26), whose husband was gunned down in west Belfast last month, claims she has become a target since her husband’s killing.

In the latest incident the mother-of-three, who says she has received hate mail and malicious calls, said she was confronted by a 100-strong picket near her home in the Springhill estate.

“Why are they doing this to me? I’m being punished for Jo-Jo,” she said.

“I just want to get on with rebuilding my life with my children.”

And her mother Phoebe Mooney said: “We want this brought to an end.

“It has got nothing to do with my daughter and her three children. Nicola is not a threat to anybody she should not have to pay for this.”

Mrs O’Connor, who has been staying at her mother’s home in nearby Moyard since the killing, said she had become a virtual prisoner in her home.

“I don’t know where to turn and who to trust. It’s got to the point where I feel I’m being watched.”

The Provisional IRA has been blamed for the murder of Mr O’Connor, who was ambushed outside his mother’s home in the Ballymurphy estate on October 15, although it denied any involvement in the murder.

Mrs O’Connor said she was confronted by a 100-strong picket waving placards on Wednesday night after she returned to Springhill to collect clothes for the children.

“There were about three men who saw me going into the estate and within 10 minutes, as I was leaving, there was a crowd of about 100 – men on one side, women on the other – lining the streets with placards saying ‘Provos are innocent’ and one with ‘My brother is innocent’.”

She said she has also received letters in the post saying: ‘Provos Rule. Scum Out’.

Her mother added: “If they want to picket the family let them go to Ballymurphy. Why should Nicola be made to pay? She is not a member of any organisation.”

Mainstream republicans last night denied any involvement in the campaign. A spokesman for Sinn Fein said it had not been involved in the picket.

IRWG STATEMENT ON CONTINUED INTIMIDATION
02.11.00

The IRWG condemn the continued harassment and attempted intimidation of its members. Last evening, Wednesday 1 November, a group of more than 30 picketers, led by local Sinn Fein activists, again picketed the home of Anthony McIntyre and Carrie Twomey. Carrie Twomey, six months pregnant, and one of Anthony McIntyre’s children were alone in the house at the time. The IRWG call for constructive and widespread dialogue to begin immediately that will ensure internecine bloodletting does not occur and will put a halt to the intimidation and tension within the Republican community. We again reiterate our call for a community inquiry into the murder of Joseph O Connor, and ask for support from all who value freedom of speech.

The IRWG has learned that on the same evening the widow of Joseph O Connor, Nicola O Connor, was subject to the same harassment and intimidation.

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