Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

MLA condemns arson attack on car

Martin McGuinnes

A DUP politician who had his car burned out said the attack could have easily endangered his family.

Ian McCrea said the blaze that destroyed the vehicle on the Tullycall Road in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, took place close to his home and next to a gas cylinder.

The Mid Ulster MLA, who sparked controversy recently over comments he made about the GAA, did not link the two incidents but he said opposition to his political life should not prompt attacks that put his family at risk.

Police said they are investigating a suspected arson attack, while the incident was condemned by Sinn Fein MP for the area Martin McGuinness.

Mr McCrea said: "Around 4am on Sunday morning I discovered my car - parked only yards from my house and a gas cylinder - in flames. The fire service and police were on the scene within minutes. I thank them for their swift response.

"Whilst a car can be replaced and the yard resurfaced, nothing will remove the terror of this event from the minds of my three young children who had to be lifted from their beds and taken to safety."

Mr McCrea added: "The people who carried out this action had little or no regard for human life. Whilst no one was injured, this situation could have been a lot different had the gas cylinder exploded or the house caught fire. We could be dealing with several fatalities.

"I am disgusted by this attack. Regardless of political differences in Mid Ulster, I know, by the comments of support, that the majority of people are horrified and deplore it. I am a politician and expect to be the target of verbal criticism but targeting my family home is outrageous and demonstrates the hatred within some elements."

Mr McCrea courted controversy when he used Twitter to celebrate Tyrone's defeat in the GAA's Ulster Championship, while he also expressed hopes that public money would not be spent on further receptions for Gaelic football teams in his constituency.

Mr McGuinness repeated his criticism of Mr McCrea's remarks, but the Sinn Fein leader added "there can be no possible justification for this attack on his family car".

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