Belfast Telegraph

I pray for you, mum of Catholic cop tells dissident attackers

By Donna Deeney

The mother of a Catholic police officer whose family cars were attacked by dissident republicans says she bears no malice towards the faceless thugs who targeted her family.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on the woman, and she said she could not understand how anyone could have such hate in their hearts.

The police officer is originally from Londonderry but does not live in Derry now.

His relatives still live in the city and their vehicles were attacked outside their homes in Drumleck Drive and Kylemore Park.

Yesterday the officer's mother was being comforted by her priest at the home she has lived in for the past 43 years - a home she has vowed not to leave.

In the latest attack, the family car at Drumleck Gardens had two windows smashed and accelerant poured over it, while the sister of the police officer had accelerant poured over her car outside her home in Kylemore Park.

It is not the first time the family has been targeted by dissidents.

Two years ago a pipe-bomb that police said was capable of causing serious injury or death was left at their Drumleck Drive home.

The officer's mother said she drew comfort not just from the level of support from her neighbours and from the widespread condemnation of this latest attack on her family, but also from her faith.

She said she prayed for the people who have targeted her and her family.

She said: "The first time anything happens is the scariest, but we have been under threat for so long now, in a way you become accustomed to it.

"So long as no one has been hurt, that's the main thing.

"Even the first time we were attacked and that time there was an explosion, I took comfort in the fact that no one was hurt.

"There was a sense of deja vu about this latest attack.

"But we have drawn so much comfort from the amount of support we have been shown. I think it is like everything in life, if you are in any kind of difficulty it makes it better to know there are people who care about what you are going through.

"But we try not to let this kind of thing dominate our lives.

"I don't think too much about the people who are doing this to us but I do pray for them every single day, which some people might find strange.

"I have no malice or hatred towards them.

"It's not the way I was brought up nor is it the way we brought our family up.

"So it is hard for us to understand how anyone can have that amount of hatred in them that would allow them to do something like this to people they don't know."

There was widespread condemnation of the latest attacks on the officer's family, led by mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson.

She said everyone had to condemn such attacks.

Ms Stevenson said: "These type of incidents did not work in the past and we will not accept this type of behaviour in our city.

"These are relatives of PSNI officers who are out working to serve our communities, and it is disgraceful that they are subjected to this type of intimidation.

"Such attacks are deeply unsettling and stressful for the wider communities of Foyle Springs and Shantallow."

Background

In the latest of a series of attacks blamed on dissident republicans, cars belonging to the family of a serving Catholic police officer were targeted.

In a previous attack a "significant" pipe-bomb was left at the house.

The police officer no longer lives in Derry and his mother has vowed not to be driven out of the home where she raised her children and has lived for 43 years.

She revealed she prays daily for those who have attacked her family.

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