02 May 2006

Catholic-owned hotel and homes under attack

Daily Ireland

One man released on bail after two arrested in relation to Co Derry incidents

by Mick Hall

Nationalist politicians have condemned an attack on Catholic homes and a Catholic-owned hotel in Co Derry.
The two homes and the hotel on Garvagh town’s main street were attacked at around 10.30pm on Friday night.
Sinn Féin Coleraine councillor Billy Leonard said the attacks were “most definitely sectarian and utterly despicable”.
It is understood that a wedding party leaving the hotel on Friday was subjected to sectarian taunts and attacks and that two nearby homes then had their windows broken.
A car was also damaged during the attacks. The hotel owner claimed his life had been threatened.
The PSNI said two men had been arrested in connection with the incidents. One man was later released on bail.
Mr 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,” he said.
Mr Leonard said his party was calling on unionist representatives to work against those involved in making the name of the village a byword for sectarianism.
Referring to the first loyalist march of the year held on the same night in neighbouring Coleraine, Mr Leonard said: “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.”
East Derry SDLP assembly member John Dallat also condemned the attacks.
He said those responsible had nothing positive to offer the community of Garvagh.

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