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DUP reacts strongly to McGuinness’ UVF comments

PACEMAKER: Mr McGuinness blamed the UVF for the attack on Naomi Long's office. He said unionists had been lax in reacting to the group - prompting a strong response from the DUP

PACEMAKER: Mr McGuinness blamed the UVF for the attack on Naomi Long's office. He said unionists had been lax in reacting to the group - prompting a strong response from the DUP

  • by Adam Kula
 

A DUP politician has said she is not prepared to swallow any lectures from Martin McGuinness after he accused unionists of a lax response towards loyalist violence.

Diane Dodds MEP was hitting back at the top Sinn Fein man after he blamed the UVF for an attack in which an Naomi Long MP’s east Belfast office was pelted with seven petrol bombs late on Tuesday night.

Mr McGuinness said the police and unionists at large had been “inadequate” in reacting to the group’s criminal activities in east Belfast over the past two years, branding the their acts as “criminality of the worst kind”.

But MEP Diane Dodds said in a statement: “The DUP will not take a lecture on the condemnation of violence from a self-confessed commander of the PIRA. Unlike McGuinness, my party has a consistent record of condemning those who use violence.”

She added: “I look forward to Martin McGuinness calling for the terrorists behind the Enniskillen bomb to be brought to justice.”

Mr McGuinness also hit out at the PSNI for acting “inadequately” against the UVF.

Police said last night that at this stage the UVF is not believed to have been involved in this attack, but that all lines of inquiry are being followed.

And in response to Mr McGuinness’ criticism, the force also provided a long list of its efforts to tackle “organised crime and criminality”, saying that drugs, illegal tobacco, guns and even a “scuba spear gun” had been seized in the past six months – though it was not clear if all of these are being linked to the loyalist paramilitary group.

It added that it was working with the community to tackle tensions at east Belfast’s sectarian flashpoints, and had made 21 arrests over interface issues in just two weeks.

This latest incident unfolded at about 11pm on Tuesday.

It was initially believed that three petrol bombs were thrown at the office on the Upper Newtownards Road, but after examining CCTV, it turns out that six had exploded and that another had landed on the roof and failed to ignite.

The office – which has been attacked repeatedly in the wake of the Union flag protests – appears to have been saved by double-glazing, with only the outer layer of glass on a first-floor window broken.

It follows a petrol bomb attack in November, a hoax bomb alert month before that, and the attempted murder of a police officer as she sat in a car outside the office in December 2012.

Among the first to condemn Tuesday’s incident was former Lord Mayor of the city, DUP councillor Gavin Robinson.

Within barely an hour of the news emerging, he decried the bombings as pointless, reckless and wrong.

Peter Robinson and the Secretary of State also weighed in with denouncements of the attack.

Meanwhile, Naomi Long herself pledged to resist the intimidation.

 

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