Victims campaigner Willie Frazer yesterday told of his anger after an attempt was made to burn down vacant premises adjacent to a new centre he aims to open next week in north Belfast.
Mr Frazer said he “had no doubt the fire was meant to burn down the new victims’ centre”.
A PSNI spokesman said they received a report of a fire on Wednesday at 8.10pm at commercial premises on the York Road.
He said minor damage has been caused to the interior of the property and “the cause of the fire is yet to be established”.
“They set alight the vacant premises beside our new office,” said Mr Frazer.
“But when you go to the back, because the windows are bricked up, it is unclear which is our office.
“They got mixed up. But I firmly believe it was an attempt to burn us down before we start up.”
Mr Frazer, from Families Acting for Innocent Victims based in south Armagh, said “the office has been in the pipeline for several months”.
“It will be the same as FAIR only it will be in Belfast. It is being called Belfast Innocent Victims and Community Group and is in response to people from north Belfast who have been crying out for something to be done.
“We have started the office up ourselves and we are furnishing it through donations.
“We have not been asked for any rent on the premises until we are up and running, and when we are functioning we will apply for funding.”
He said the new office will be open to anyone affected by the Troubles or by intimidation.
“Local people have told me this morning they believe the fire may have been started by local paramilitaries who don’t like what we are doing in the area,” he said.
“But we are not going to be intimidated.
“The amount of old ladies who came up to me today saying ‘don’t be bullied out of there son’ is heartening.”