Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin man rubbishes claim that pipe bomb at mother's home was 'ruse'

Harry Maguire of Community Restorative Justice talks to the Irish News in 2012. Picture by Hugh Russell.

A SINN Féin press officer whose 85-year-old mother was targeted by pipe bombers has hit out at speculation that it was a party 'ruse'.

Seán Mag Uidhir made the comments in the wake of threats against his family in west Belfast on Friday.

He said those claiming the attack was intended "to detract from the Paul Quinn controversy" should "go hang their heads in shame".

Mr Mag Uidhir's brother Harry Maguire, a party activist and former IRA prisoner, was warned by the PSNI on Friday night that two pipe bombs had been left at the homes of his 85-year-old mother and his partner in west Belfast.

Neighbours also reported hearing a blast close to Mr Maguire's Andersonstown home.

Police said they had carried out extensive searches in the Fruithill Park area and the Benraw Road area and "nothing untoward was found in either location".

Mr Mag Uidhir tweeted yesterday: "My mother is 85 years old. What sort of idiot thinks my party is involved in a ‘ruse’ to get the PSNI to visit her at 11pm on a Friday night to warn her about the threat of a bomb attack on her home."

In an earlier statement, Harry Maguire condemned the attack, saying "the people who did this are cowards, skulking around in the dead of night attempting to intimidate our community".

He added: “These efforts will fail. I will not be deterred from doing the right thing for my community.

“I would ask the small number of people who in some way provide cover to those responsible for these threats and the blast, is that what you are supporting?

“My mother is 85. Are these threats and attacks being done in your name?

“If anybody in my community wishes to challenge me or those who are trying to build the peace or make progress in our communities then challenge me across a table."

Maguire was jailed for life for the 1988 murders of two British corporals at an IRA funeral in west Belfast. After being released from prison under the term of the Good Friday Agreement he was a leading figure in Community Restorative Justice in west Belfast.

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey described the attack as "an attack on the entire community".

This was the latest attack on people linked to Sinn Féin. In a separate incident last week, there was a failed bomb attack on the home of the brother of the late solicitor Pat Finucane.

Martin Finucane, the uncle of Sinn Féin MP John Finucane, found the crude unexploded device outside his west Belfast home.

Earlier this month, Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister, said officers had warned that dissident republicans were planning to attack her and Sinn Féin colleague MP Gerry Kelly.

She said police had told them the New IRA was the group behind the plan.

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