Northern Ireland

Aontú's Sharon Loughran calls for police protection after her car is torched outside her Newry home

Sharon Loughran's car was torched outside her home
Sharon Loughran's car was torched outside her home Sharon Loughran's car was torched outside her home

An Aontú representative whose car was torched in an early morning arson attack has appealed for police protection.

Sharon Loughran's car was burnt outside her home in the Damolly Village area of Newry at around 3am on Wednesday in what the PSNI are treating as a sectarian hate crime.

She said she awoke "to the smell and sound of an inferno beside my house".

The heat from the blaze melted the facia and window frames of her home, as well as damaging water pipes and electric cables.

The district nurse, whose home was daubed with graffiti ahead of May's council election, said she was left without electricity or water.

"This was a horrendous action that very easily could have set my house on fire also," Ms Loughran said. 

"The arsonist that set this fire could have killed me – that this would happen to any one in 2023 is incredible."

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The former council election candidate said she was at a loss to understand the rationale of the attack. 

"I had no involvement in politics before joining Aontú," she said.

"I am paediatric nurse in Daisy Hill Hospital. I love my job and I am delighted to work for both communities.

"The only reason I got involved in politics was to stop the closure of key services in Daisy Hill Hospital and Aontú are very active on hospital campaigns around the country."

Ms Loughran said Aontú was "fours years old" and has "no history or baggage from the past at all". 

"Indeed we have many Catholic and Protestant members," she said. 

"My house was also daubed with sectarian UDA graffiti during the local elections, but this is a radical escalation of that intimidation."

She called on the PSNI to "provide the necessary protection that people like me can go about our lives without living in fear".

"I am also calling on community leaders in Newry to bring about what influence to stop this shocking violence on the July 12," she said.

"I want to continue to work for my community. I have a human right to do so in peace”.   

Police appealed for witnesses to the attack and said the suspected perpetrator was approximately 5’10, of slim build and was wearing a light coloured top and light coloured bottoms.