'Put away your guns and bombs' demand city leaders
UNIONIST and nationalist politicians in Derry have united behind a joint statement demanding that those behind recent violence in the city "put away your guns and bombs”.
Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the DUP and Ulster Unionist Party came together at an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss a rise in sectarian attacks, predominantly in the city’s Waterside.
In a strong show of unity along with religious, community and statutory leaders, they said: “If you hurt one of us, you hurt us all.”
The meeting was called by Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion after a pipe bomb attack on the home of a Catholic man living in the Clooney estate in Derry's Waterside.
Police have blamed loyalist paramilitaries.
Monday’s attack is believed to be the fifth on Catholic and mixed religion families in mainly unionist areas in the last three weeks.
Last month police were also asked to increase patrols around Derry’s Peace Bridge after several sectarian attacks on young Protestants.
The pipe bomb was discovered outside the home of Andy Logue (62) when he called to report a broken window.
He said: “I was in having a cup of tea with my neighbours and the next thing the police said you better get up against that wall there because we found a device and we’re up here (Lincoln Courts community centre) since.”
The victim, who is originally from Co Donegal, said believed those behind the attack intended throwing the device into his home but it dropped short.
Mr Logue said he was aware of suggestions the attack was sectarian but found it difficult to believe.
“It doesn’t bother me if it’s Protestant, or Catholic or Presbyterian; I get on with everything. I wouldn’t like to think it’s sectarian. I hope it was just somebody got the wrong house,” he said.
However, police confirmed they were examining a possible sectarian motive.
Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said police believed a “loyalist paramilitary gang” was responsible.
He added that it was too early to say whether it there was a link to shots fired at a Catholic home at nearby Rossdowney Drive on Saturday night.
Following yesterday’s meeting, organised through the city’s 'Unity of Purpose' group, political, community, religious and statutory leaders took the step of issuing a joint statement.
A spokesman said that as a group which represented different sectors in Derry, it was committed to providing leadership by working together.
“For those who are responsible for the use of violence against any of our people or any part of our city, we say put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery that you are imposing on our community."
The spokesman said everyone at yesterday’s meeting reaffirmed their commitment to ensure Derry spoke with one voice.
The group also appealed to anyone with information about the attacks to contact police.