GUN ATTACK ‘SECTARIAN’

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An East Londonderry MLA has dubbed the gun attack on a Catholic home in the Newmills area of Coleraine late on Saturday evening as sectarian.

John Dallat condemned the incident, in which two shots were fired into the living room and kitchen of the house in Kingsbury Gardens around 11pm.

A man was in the house when the attack happened. Police said he was not injured but was shaken by his ordeal.

Mr Dallat said he believes the attack on the house, which he said is occupied by a Catholic family, was sectarian.

“The family had gone on holidays to get away from the tensions but one member of the family remained behind and was staying with his granny so that he could keep a check on the family home.

“He went to check the house when the gunman passed him after firing the shorts into the living room and kitchen.

‘I received a phone call from the mother shortly after 1am. She was distraught and is planning to fly back home early to be with the remainder of her family.

‘Had the gun-totting thug recognised the young person this incident would have been much worse and we may have been talking about cold-blooded murder.”

Mr Dallat appealed for anyone who knew anything about the incident to contact police.

‘I am thoroughly disgusted that guns are still on the streets of Coleraine albeit in smaller numbers,” he said.

“Nevertheless we are now 11 years into a peace process and guns should be history but for some the benefits of the Good Friday Agreement are still to be felt while Loyalist paramilitaries in their various forms and guises continue to intimidate and cultivate sectarianism particularly in areas where they believe they can get away with it.

‘I have been in touch with the PSNI and Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin and would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact the police immediately because no one knows whose windows will be shot into the next time or indeed who may lose their lives.”

Independent Assemblyman, David McClarty, also condemned the incident.

He said: “I am appalled and alarmed at this incident, especially at a time when it is all too easy to heighten tensions.

“When firearms are used there is the intent to at the very least injure or in the worse case kill.

“Thankfully no-one was in the house when this happened.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information about this incident to pass it on to the police so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.”