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Clough arson attack condemned

9 June, 2008

South Down Assembly Member Willie Clarke has condemned the people responsible for an arson attack on the home of a mother of two young children in Clough, County Down.

Cllr Clarke, who on Thursday visited the family accompanied by fellow Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Coogan said it was only luck that prevented the fire from taking hold and engulfing the house.

"The people responsible for this cowardly and potentially murderous attack on the home of a mother of two young children need to be caught and brought before the courts.

"It is my belief that the victims were targeted because they are Catholics living in Clough, a predominantly Loyalist village that has a minority element intent on fostering sectarian hatred. I would call on Unionist politicians, particularly the DUP's Jim Wells, MLA, to show some leadership on this issue and make clear his views on what has happened.

"At a time when we are attempting to build a better future here in the six counties, there are a small number of bigots living in the Clough area who seem determined to intimidate and target their Catholic neighbours at every opportunity. This is especially the case during the summer marching season, when Loyalist flags and paraphernalia, including Unionist paramilitary emblems are erected in the village.

"My thoughts are with the Kearney family at this difficult time as I know they have been left terrified and traumatised at what has happened. I would also commend their neighbours for all their support in the aftermath of this incident." ENDS

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