Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Car vandalised and Coleraine mayor's house daubed with graffiti as sectarian mob go on rampage

Coleraine mayor, George Duddy, outside his house yesterday after the walls were daubed with graffiti
The damage caused to a car after acid was poured on it

A nurse has told of her disgust after acid was poured over her car in the second sectarian attack in a year because she flies a Union flag from her home.

Hers was one of three properties targeted in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, in the early hours of yesterday.

The thugs also stole a flag from the home of the woman's sister, which was daubed with graffiti.

Also targeted was the home of Coleraine's DUP mayor, George Duddy.

It was the third time in a year Mr Duddy's property, on the outskirts of the town, has been attacked.

The nurse, who did not want to be named, has been working in the profession for the past 24 years.

She said that while the car is being repaired, she faces walking two miles each way to work 12-hour shifts at the Causeway Hospital.

Her vehicle was targeted in the same way last year.

"It cost me £2,000 to fix last year then this," she told the Belfast Telegraph. "Now I'm paying for it again because some idiots threw acid over it.

"If people have a problem why don't they just come to the door and discuss it? I won't be taking the flag down either. I fly my flag every year."

The woman said the BMW was her "pride and joy". "It's the only thing I own because you pay your mortgage for your house," she said. "I bought that car through hard graft using my savings."

The victim praised the support she has received from across the community in Coleraine.

"My Catholic friends will be gutted," she said.

"They were last year and they will be again. The people who did this are bigots, idiots and have nothing better to do with their time.

"When I'm working in the hospital I don't ask what religion people are."

Democratic Unionist councillor Mr Duddy said there have now been 20 such attacks in his neighbourhood since April against homes perceived to be occupied by unionists.

Mr Duddy, who is a prominent Orangeman, issued a defiant message to the perpetrators. "Whatever it is they are trying to achieve, they won't be successful," he said.

"It is a direct attempt to not only intimidate me but also the unionist community living in that area."

East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the "campaign of hate" must end.

"It is intolerable that both George Duddy and the property of his neighbours have yet again been attacked," he said.

"It appears that the same group of people responsible for previous attacks on George's home and property are responsible for this latest incident. They should stop this campaign of hate and allow the mayor and his neighbours to live in peace. An increased police presence is required to stop these attacks."

Justice Minister David Ford said the attacks were "cowardly".

Police confirmed they were treating the attacks as hate crimes.

SDLP MLA John Dallat said those behind the attacks "do not represent the good people of the Coleraine area and have no place in society".

"We unreservedly condemn this appalling attack on the home of Councillor Duddy and his neighbours," Mr Dallat said.

"Everyone should be allowed to live in peace without fear of attack from thugs and cowards."

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