Cross party condemnation of weekend petrol bomb attack

A MEMBER of the Community Association in the Killyvally estate in Garvagh says that community relations in the area are good.

The member spoke to the Times on Monday, and was keen to point out that the weekend petrol bomb attack was 'totally out of character' for the area.

"This has always been a mixed estate since the day and hour these houses were built, at no point has there ever been any kind of sectarism," said the member, who did not wish to be named.

"We have a good Community Association here, and we work hard together for the good of the area."

Police were carrying out door to door enquiries on Monday, as they continue their investigations into the attack, which they are treating as a sectarian hate crime.

A car was substantially damaged by flames and a nearby house also sustained scorch damage during the attack, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

There has been condemnation of the attack from both Nationalist and Unionist politicians.

Garvagh DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan condemned the attack, but said he felt the police were too quick to label it as sectarian, he said: "I hope that whoever carried out this

cowardly attack on this family unit is brought before the courts.

"I do believe that the police were too quick to label this attack as a sectarian hate crime, it is wrong to label this estate as sectarian, there is lots of work going on behind the scenes by the Community Association and community relations are good here."

In a joint statement, the UUP candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections, councillor David Harding and Lesley Macauley added: " We are aware that the police are investigating a sectarian motive for the attack, but regardless of the motive, it is quite clear that the people of Killyvally and the rest of the town of Garvagh want nothing to do with whoever was

responsible and simply wish to live in peace with their neighbours.

Deputy Mayor, DUP councillor Sam Cole described the attack as 'despicable'. He said: "The attack has only served in damaging the good name of the town and spreading fear

among both sections of the local community.

"Everyone has the basic human right to live in their homes in peace and safety without being targeted by antisocial arsonists. Police are treating the incident as sectarian,

but nobody is sure what the motive was and nobody wants to talk about it.

SDLP MLA John Dallat described those involved in the attack as 'low lifes'.

He said: "Those involved in this are low lifers not worthy of any title other than thugs.

"They have brought attention to Garvagh in a way which helps no one, and I would appeal to everyone to redouble their efforts to bring to an end any form of sectarianism or criminality.

"In saying this I recognise the very positive work done in Garvagh to bring about a neutral environment where religion and politics are the rights of individuals and not the concern of others who have yet to accept diversity and difference as an enrichment of life.

"For those in public life who still behaving like ostriches they should realise that sectarianism still raises its ugly head in many parts of the North including Garvagh.

Continuing to be in denial is not helpful, indeed could be very offensive. "

The MLA went on: " I do not rule out involvement from loyalist elements who still can't accept their grisly sectarian war is over and their day of dictating where people

can live is part of a history that failed everyone and especially all those who lost their lives.

"Whether people live in Larne or Limavady, Coleraine or Cullybackey or indeed Garvagh, the Assembly must guarantee every citizen the right to live and go about their daily lives in safety and freedom."