SF activist target of Coleraine attack - Leonard
Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard has said that one of their party activists was the target of an attacker brandishing a gun in the Ballysally area of Coleraine on Saturday morning. The person concerned was due to play in a football match in the area and the attacker walked on to the pitch wearing a balaclava and pointing the firearm.
Councillor Leonard said:
“It is hard to say from initial reports if this was an elaborate scare tactic or if a real attack was avoided by the quick thinking of our activist who fled the scene. The attacker definitely asked for the person by name and was approaching him across the pitch pointing the weapon.
Whatever the motivation, there are guns in loyalist areas and are being targeted at one of our activists. The message has got to be given loud and clear. There is no place for this in Coleraine. Republicans are entitled to their political aspirations, entitled to work for them and entitled to live a normal life. Loyalism must become mature enough to accept all of this.
And I must challenge all brands of loyalist and unionist politicians. You knock each other over to get to the microphones and cameras to heap scorn on republicans coming up to the IMC report.
You must now take responsibility to address the reality of Saturday morning’s incident. It is sinister and worrisome and for all we know it could have been a serious gun attack. You must surely speak out and then work to remove this sinister element from your political community.”
Leonard confirmed that Sinn Féin activists in the area were totally committed to continuing their work in the largely unionist and loyalist area.
“This and previous incidents will not deter us. We have an absolute right to work politically and that will not be taken from us by attacks or threats of attacks.”ENDS