Arson attack won’t stop Sinn Fein representing electorate, says abstentionist MP

Paint on a first-floor window at Sinn Fein offices at Connolly House in west Belfast
Paint on a first-floor window at Sinn Fein offices at Connolly House in west Belfast

Sinn Fein has condemned an arson incident at about 4.50am on Monday at its west Belfast headquarters as an “attack on democracy”.

Paul Maskey, MP for West Belfast, said the party will be undeterred by the attack and will continue to provide “a first-class service” to its constituents.

Sinn Fein's Connolly House offices in west Belfast. Pic by Google

Sinn Fein's Connolly House offices in west Belfast. Pic by Google

His constituents currently lack either representation in Westminster due to Sinn Fein’s abstentionist stance, or the Stormont Assembly since Sinn Fein walked out of the devolved government in early 2017, causing its collapse.

The police said damage was caused to a door at the rear of the Sinn Fein building, and to fascia boarding, and paint was thrown at a front window.

It is the second time in as many months that there has been an attack against mainstream republican targets in the west of the city.

Mr Maskey said in a party statement: “Last night’s disgraceful arson attack on our Connolly House office must be condemned by all. This was an attack on the democratic process.

“Clearly the people behind this are intent on trying to disrupt the services we provide to all the public.”

He was also quoted by the Belfast Media Group (a news company of which fellow top Sinn Fein figure Mairtin O Muilleoir is a director) as thanking the fire brigade and residents who spotted the fire, adding that “we won’t be letting this deter us from what we do “.

Sinn Fein it could not estimate the cost of the damage.

On July 13, the homes of both Gerry Adams and fellow top Sinn Fein figure Bobby Storey were attacked.

That incident involved what police described as “large industrial firework-type devices” being thrown from a moving vehicle.

No-one was injured but a parked car was damaged.

A man, 46, was later arrested over the attacks then bailed pending further enquiries.

Sinn Fein’s president Mary Lou McDonald blamed “violent dissidents” for those attacks, though police did not attribute blame. Neither Sinn Fein nor PSNI specifically said whether dissidents were suspected of this latest attack.

Police said: “All lines of enquiry are being investigated at this stage.”