Northern Ireland news

Moygashel arson attack treated as racial hate crime

Police have condemned an arson attack in Moygashel in the early hours of Saturday

A racially motivated arson attack in which a couple and their young children were forced to flee their Co Tyrone home in the early hours has been described as "totally unacceptable".

The attack in Moygashel, outside Dungannon, happened at around 3.40am on Saturday.

The couple heard a downstairs window at their Jacksonville Road home shatter before discovering an oil tank and shed ablaze in the back yard, and smoke filling their kitchen.

The couple and their two children, one a baby and the other a toddler, fled to safety before emergency services arrived.

The shed and oil tank were destroyed in the blaze, while damage was also caused to a fence.

A PSNI spokeswoman urged witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

"This was a cowardly attack on a family who should be able to feel safe in their own home with their young children. No-one has the right to take this away from anyone."

The loyalist village of Moygashel has been the scene of racially motivated incidents in the past.

In 2014, a message was painted warning landlords not to rent properties to "foreign nationals".

Another sign displayed in the area that year stated: "It is not racist to protect your own community."

Dungannon Sinn Féin councillor Dominic Molloy condemned the "totally unacceptable attack on a young family".

"We are lucky we are not dealing with fatalities," he said.

"I would urge those behind this to cease immediately, and my thoughts are with the family suffering as a result of this terrifying ordeal.

"There is a decent majority of people in Moygashel who will not agree with this intimidation, and I urge anyone with information on those responsible to bring it to police."

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