Attacks on cars ‘an attack on democracy’

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness addressing the media at a Press conference on Wednessday morning at Guildhall Square. DER1815MC040

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness addressing the media at a Press conference on Wednessday morning at Guildhall Square. DER1815MC040

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Vandals torched a Sinn Féin Councillor’s car in Creggan and smashed the windscreens of a colleague’s car in the Greater Shantallow area in the early hours of Wednesday.

There’s been widespread condemnation.

Mayor Elish McCallion confirmed the cars belonged to elected members Councillors Colly Kelly and Sandra Duffy.

“These attacks were frightening for those involved. Both councillors have young children and it has been a very traumatic experience for them and their families. The community however have been very supportive in their response to the attacks and the councillors are determined that they will not let it have an impact on the work they are doing for the people of this city and district,” she commented.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “The attacks on the homes and cars of Sinn Féin elected representatives in Derry are the latest in a spate of attacks on republicans.

“The burning of the cars of Councillors Sandra Duffy and Colly Kelly outside their homes was despicable and I condemned it unreservedly.

“It follows a similar attack on Sinn Féin activist Sean McMonagle’s car and an attack on my own home in recent days.

“What happened last night was not only an attempt to intimidate elected representatives, but an attack on their families - including Councillor Kelly’s young children and heavily pregnant partner.

“It was also an attack on the wider democratic process coming just a day before the Westminster election, carried out by so-called dissident republican elements.

“It shows the contempt of those behind these attacks for the will of the people.

“I am calling on all the community to defend the progress and gains of the peace process and to reject those intent on dragging us back to the past.”

Meanwhile, police in Foyle are appealing for information following two separate incidents of criminal damage overnight.

Shortly before 1.50am it was reported that a car parked in the Kildrum Gardens area of the City had been set on fire. Extensive damage was caused to the engine block of the car as a result.

Shortly before 2.30am it was reported that the front and rear windscreens of a car parked in the Oakbridge Park area of the City were smashed. Two males aged 17 and 23 were arrested in the area of Oakbridge Park on suspicion of criminal damage and are currently in custody assisting police with their enquiries.

Inspector Audrey Irvine is appealing for anyone with any information about these incidents to contact officers at Strand Road Police Station on the non-emergency number 101. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.