Unionists slam SF baiting over masked gang attack

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Unionists have slammed Sinn Fein for baiting them over their ‘failure’ to condemn a brutal attack in Belfast.

Police said a masked gang attacked a 22-year-old man with iron bars at a house in the Ballygomartin Drive area on Friday, leaving him with non life-threatening injuries to his body, legs and arms.

A sectarian motive is one line of inquiry.

Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey yesterday slammed the “failure” of unionist leaders to condemn the assault, which he claimed the UDA carried out on a Catholic victim.

“What we need now is clear political leadership from Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt and Jim Allister whose silence on this attack has been deafening,” he said.

Nigel Dodds MP issued a statement saying it was “a savage and brutal attack which must be condemned in the strongest terms”, equating it to the recent shooting of a young man in the legs near Ardoyne Fleadh.

And UUP leader Mike Nesbitt responded that both attacks were “a disgrace”.

But he added that the UUP’s “consistent and unequivocal record of condemnation of all violence...stands up to a degree which Sinn Fein can only dream of”.

TUV leader Jim Allister said he condemned “all violence” but added that “Sinn Fein should be the last people to hector anyone on this, given their past”.

Sinn Fein said it had openly condemned all violence in the city in recent days.