New Lodge arson attacks in hours after Sinn Fein-led ‘solidarity’ vigil

Sinn Fein MLA Car�l N� Chuil�n
Sinn Fein MLA Car�l N� Chuil�n
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There were further disturbances in the New Lodge area of north Belfast in the early hours of Tuesday, with three cars destroyed by arsonists.

The incidents occurred just hours after members of Sinn Fein held a vigil close to the scene of a contentious republican bonfire that was lit last week.

Sinn Fein said Monday night’s gathering was to show “solidarity with the community and residents who have borne the brunt of anti-social activity associated with the bonfire”.

MLA Caral Ni Chuilin told the crowd: “Never again will there be a bonfire in this area.”

The first of the overnight incidents took place just after 3.30am when a man forced entry to a house at Carlisle Square, but was disturbed by the householder and made off from the rear of the property.

Police later received a report that a Peugeot car had been set alight at Victoria Parade. Two other vehicles were then discovered to have been destroyed – an Audi Q2 and Volkswagen Tiguan – as a result of deliberate fires at Carlisle Terrace.

PSNI inspector Paul Noble said: “Our investigation into these incidents is at a very early stage and I would appeal to anyone who has any information which could assist us with our enquiries to contact police at Musgrave on 101 quoting reference number 181 of 13 August 2019. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee described the arson attacks as “mindless vandalism”.

Mr Magee said: “Those responsible for this criminality need to wise up. They are doing nothing but damaging relations in the area and the good reputation of this community.”