Belfast Telegraph

First ministers hit out at Alliance office attack

BY DAVID WHELAN

A petrol bomb attack on the Alliance Party offices in east Belfast has united Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in condemnation.

Speaking after two petrol bombs were thrown at the property on the Upper Newtownards Road on Saturday night, the First and deputy First Ministers presented a united front in slamming the arson attack.

In a joint statement, they said that an attack on the office of an elected representative struck at the very heart of democracy and called on those responsible to stop immediately. "These people are intent on bringing fear and disruption to our community."

"They have nothing to offer our society and will do nothing to deter us from working together across all political parties to achieve a shared future and a united community," they said.

One of the MLAs targeted in the attack called on all elected representatives to make their condemnation "very clear".

Chris Lyttle said: "The Alliance Party stands up for a shared society and will not be deterred by these very serious attacks on us and on the local community.

"All elected representatives need to make their condemnation very clear and be very careful with the language they use in doing so.

"This attack was carried out in a built up area with a number of local businesses and children's facilities and I can only describe those responsible as incomprehensively reckless. Anyone could have been seriously hurt."

Detectives are calling for any witnesses who may have seen a male wearing a red coloured hooded top, making off in the direction of Finvoy Street at around 10.45pm, to contact them.

It's the second time this month the office shared by MP Naomi Long and MLA's Chris Lyttle and Judith Cochrane has been attacked.

Condemning the attack MP Long said: "This is not an attack on an individual party or office, it is an attack on democracy. There can be no justification for this and there is no place for this kind of violence on our streets."

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