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Sinn Fein MEP's anger as bedridden and Alzheimer's-hit mother is the target of dissident bomb threats

By Donna Deeney

Published 07/05/2015

Martina Anderson with her 90-year-old mother Betty
Martina Anderson with her 90-year-old mother Betty
Sinn Fein councillor Colly Kelly with his damaged car and fellow councillor Sandra Duffy, whose car was also attacked

An attack on the house where the 90-year-old mother of Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson lies bedridden and suffering from advanced Alzheimer's has sparked widespread revulsion.

It was one of a series of incidents targeting Sinn Fein members blamed on dissident republicans.

Ms Anderson said: "There were five warnings that a bomb had been left at my home but after detailed searches we took the decision not to move my mother, who is 90 years of age, bedridden, she cannot walk, she cannot talk and she suffers from Alzheimer's.

"In her day my mother was a proud republican who stood up for equality for all, so it is beyond my comprehension how she could be deemed a target.

"It is well documented that my mother lives with me and that she has Alzheimer's, so there is no way whoever was behind this alert would have failed to know their actions were targeting a frail and helpless old lady.

"She has lived in that house for well over 30 years. Everybody knows my mother is in that home. Why would anybody do this? Whoever is doing this, it is absolutely shameful."

Other Sinn Fein activists have also been targeted.

A bomb warning at the west Belfast home of the party president Gerry Adams yesterday sparked a security alert. Police said they found nothing untoward following searches of the area.

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein would not be intimidated "from working to advance the peace process and advance our political objectives".

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin vowed to step up the police presence over the coming days.

Cars belonging to Derry City and Strabane District Sinn Fein councillors Colly Kelly and Sandra Duffy were destroyed in overnight arson attacks outside their family homes.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, whose own home came under attack, said the barrage of assaults on his party colleagues "displayed contempt for the will of the people".

He added: "What happened last night was not only an attempt to intimidate elected representatives, but an attack on their families, including councillor Kelly's young children and heavily pregnant partner.

"It was also an attack on the wider democratic process coming just a day before the Westminster election, carried out by so-called dissident republican elements.

"I am calling on all the community to defend the progress and gains of the peace process and to reject those intent on dragging us back to the past."

ACC Martin said he believed the attacks were linked to the general election.

"These attacks pose a risk to lives. They are reckless," he said.

"We are determined to do our best to place people before the court."

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