Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny's car targeted in suspected arson attack

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny

A GROUP protesting against plans to accommodate asylum seekers has condemned a suspected arson attack on a car belonging to a Sinn Féin TD who supports the proposals.

Martin Kenny's vehicle was burned out at his home in Aughavas, near Ballinamore in Co Leitrim, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

He has been supportive of a proposal to house asylum seekers in Ballinamore, where a community group has mounted a round-the-clock silent protest in opposition to the plan.

In a statement the Ballinamore Community Group said they condemn the attack "in the strongest possible terms".

The group's spokesman Gordon Hughes described the incident as "shocking".

He said their demonstration had been conducted peacefully and "any other elements are not indicative of the community of Ballinamore".

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Kenny's car was set alight at about 2.30am "in what appears to have been a very deliberate and targeted attack".

"An attack on the home or property of an elected public representative is a deeply serious and sinister development," she said.

She added: "This despicable act is a reflection on nobody but the criminal thugs who perpetrated it and I know it will be rightly condemned by the people of Aughavas, Ballinamore and Co Leitrim."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar condemned the incident as an "attack on democracy in itself", while Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described it as "sinister and shocking".

Gardaí confirmed they are investigating the burning of a car in the area.

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