Theresa Villiers condemns arson attack on Sinn Fein office
The Northern Ireland Secretary of State has condemned those behind an arson attack on a Sinn Fein office – saying it showed contempt for democracy.
Theresa Villiers called the attack on the Londonderry office of MLA Raymond McCartney as "disgraceful".
The Foyle MLA also called the incident "an attack on democracy" and labelled those responsible "criminals intent on destruction."
The Sinn Fein man was involved in a clean-up operation yesterday after the office on the Eastway Road area of Creggan was extensively damaged on Sunday night.
It is understood a rear window was broken and a flammable liquid poured in shortly before midnight. After the alarm was raised, the Fire and Rescue Service raced to the scene and brought the blaze under control quickly.
They managed to confine the damage to one part of the building although it is believed the cost will still run well into thousands of pounds.
Computers, desks and other office equipment was destroyed, along with internal damage.
Mr McCartney said Sinn Fein would not be deterred from delivering its constituency services to the people of Derry by a bunch of criminals "intent on destruction".
He said the building houses a book documenting those involved in republican activity over the decades, which he was relieved was not damaged.
"Although these criminals succeeded in causing some damage, it was confined to one room," he said. "I want to reassure people that the room which houses the Book of Remembrance to the many people who contributed to the republican struggle in every decade since the Twenties did not suffer any damage."
Ms Villiers was quick to condemn the incident.
"I totally condemn this disgraceful attack," she said.
"The criminals responsible show nothing but contempt for democracy and the political process."
Mr McCartney added: "This must be condemned as an attempt to attack the democratic process."
Police enquiries were under way last night. Anyone with information or who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area is asked to contact police on 101.