North Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Conor Maskey said a small group of dissident republicans had encouraged young people to hold a bonfire in the New Lodge area last night which led to vehicles being stolen and burnt and a local republican’shome attacked.
Conor Maskey also said the bonfire had nothing to do with marking the anniversary of internment. A large banner on top of the bonfire had Conor Maskey’s name on it.
The SinnFéin Councillor said:
“A small number of unsupported so-called dissident republicans facilitated the collecting of bonfire material so as to get into direct confrontation with the PSNI and bring destruction to their own area.
“The bonfire which led to the subsequent theft and burning of three vehicles was followed by another attack on the home of well-respected republican Gerry O’Reilly.
“These so-called dissidents need to explain to the community why they used a small group of children to assemble the bonfire against the clear wishes of the majority of residents. Their only contribution to life in the New Lodge is destruction, facilitating attacks on republican ex-prisoners and giving young people criminal records.
“The banner with my name on it has only made me more determined than ever to continue the workof trying to make life better for the people of the New Lodge area.
“Those who encouraged and facilitated this anti-community activity, using young children in the process, need to explain how exactly this destruction in their own area has commemorated the introduction of interment.”