Bullets sent to Sinn Féin members
Commenting after 12 bullets were intercepted by Post Office staff en route to the homes of Sinn Féin members, the party Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said 'that repeated attempts over many years to intimidate party activists and elected representatives had failed and he was confident that this latest wave of threats would fail also'.
Mr McLaughlin said:
"A number of Sinn Féin elected representatives from different areas of the six counties were visited overnight and informed that packages containing a bullet were intercepted by Post Office staff en route to their homes.
"This is quite obviously an attempt to intimidate Sinn Féin elected representatives and party activists. It bears all the hallmarks of an operation carried out by one of the unionist paramilitary groupings.
"Sinn Féin members are unfortunately no strangers to this sort of organised campaign of intimidation. A number of party members and elected representatives have been killed by unionist paramilitaries over the years and in recent weeks and months party members in North Antrim have been the victims of bomb attacks on their homes.
"However over the years these concerted attempts have failed to intimidate Sinn Féin members from continuing to represent our constituents and pursue the goal of a united and independent Ireland. I am confident that this latest wave of threats will fail also." ENDS
Editors Note: Those who have been informed that bullets were posted to their homes include Assembly members Alex Maskey, Gerry Kelly, Fra McCann, Philip McGuigan, Belfast Councillor Gerard O'Neill, Lisburn Councillor Veronica Willis and Down Councillor Francie Braniff.
A bullet was also intercepted en route to the home of the parents of Belfast Republican Bobby Storey.
Commenting on this incident West Belfast Assembly member Michael Ferguson said:
" Bobby Storey's elderly parents live at the address the bullet was intended for along with a Down Syndrome son. Bobby Storey does not live at that address yet it has been the target for attacks with ball bearings in the recent past.
" Whatever the anti-Republican motivation for these attacks and for the posting of this bullet there can be absolutely no justification whatsoever in deliberately targeting an elderly couple and their Down Syndrome son. This turn of events has caused considerable anger within the community in West Belfast." ENDS