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Garvagh attacks definitely sectarian - Sinn Féin

30 April, 2006


Sinn Féin’s Billy Leonard has said that the Friday night attacks on two homes and a hotel on the main street of the Co. Derry town of Garvagh were “most definitely sectarian and utterly despicable.”

 

Catholic families have lived in the two homes for a long time and the hotel would be known as Catholic owned.

 

A wedding party leaving the hotel was subjected to sectarian taunts and attacks, then the two homes had their windows broken with the assailants shouting, “come out you fenian bastards” and then five hotel windows were stoned with shouts of “I’ll burn you out you fenian bastard.” The hotel owner has said his life was threatened.

 

Leonard said:

 

“We know that this is the work of pathetic sectarian people who are a minority of the mainly unionist community in Garvagh town. However, when Sinn Féin has previously highlighted attacks in the town, we have been criticised in the usual way by the usual suspects who want to deny the reality that these people operate in their midst.

 

What happened on Friday night was most definitely pure sectarian hatred whereby thugs play out their mindless games denigrating and physically attacking those who are the good people in this scenario.

 

The sectarian attackers have put pressure on the home and hotel owners but they will continue to live and work as they have done and they will also continue making a contribution to the community, something their attackers seem incapable of doing.

 

Sinn Féin is genuinely calling on unionist representatives be they elected or community activists to work against this group who are giving the area a sectarian label something they know cannot be allowed to continue.”

 

Leonard also referred to the first loyalist march of the year held on the same night in neighbouring Coleraine.

 

“I am not making a direct connection but it must be said that some people in Garvagh have said that if the tension of marches is to be played out like this then it does not bode well for the summer marching season.

 

I obviously hope this is not the case and that all people connected with marches will do their utmost this year to lessen tension.”ENDS

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