Belfast Telegraph

Arson attack on immigrant's home 'was racist'

An arson attack on a Co Antrim property was racist, it has been claimed.

The incident happened at Galgorm Road, Ballymena, on Sunday evening.

Police received a report of a fire at the premises shortly before 6.40pm.

There was no-one in the flat at the time but the building sustained substantial smoke and fire damage.

It is understood a man originally from South Africa lives there.

Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan claimed the attack was racist.

“This was a very serious attack which could easily have led to loss of life,” he said.

“I hope and expect that the police will investigate it as attempted murder. It is absolutely certain that the motivation was racist.

“A resident who is from South Africa was the target of the attack. Graffiti of a very explicit and unpleasant racist nature was painted on the building.

“It is important that we send out the message that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable in Ballymena.

“The best way to do that is to apprehend the culprits and put them before the courts.

“There are several thousand people here from other countries and they play a valued part in our community. We need to reassure them that they are welcomed in Ballymena.”

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them on 0845 600 8000.

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