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Belfast republican slams those behind threats against him as ‘cowards’

Harry Maguire said those responsible should challenge him “around a table”.

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Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey has condemned threats against a community worker.

Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey has condemned threats against a community worker.

Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey has condemned threats against a community worker.

A Belfast community worker who was informed of a threat to his life just hours before reports of an explosion close to his elderly mother’s house has described those responsible as “cowards”.

Harry Maguire was informed by police of threats against him on Friday evening.

Two addresses were specified in the Andersonstown area. One of the properties is where his 85-year-old mother lives.

A few hours later the sound of a blast in the area was reported.

Mr Maguire has hit out at those responsible.

“The people who did this are cowards, skulking around in the dead of night attempting to intimidate our community,” he said, in a statement issued by Sinn Fein.

“These efforts will fail. I will not be deterred from doing the right thing for my community.

“I would ask the small number of people who in some way provide cover to those responsible for these threats and the blast, is that what you are supporting?

“My mother is 85, are these threats and attacks being done in your name?”

He added: “If anybody in my community wishes to challenge me or those who are trying to build the peace or make progress in our communities then challenge me across a table.

“I’m ready and willing to engage with anyone but the cowardly and anonymous attacks on homes must stop.”

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey described the sequence of events as “concerning”.

“Harry is a republican, he’s a community activist, he works for the betterment of this community and has done so for many years,” he said.

“I think it is very concerning when one of the addresses is of his 85-year-old mother, I think it is unfair, it’s unfair on the entire family circle and it is unfair on this community because Harry works for this community, he has made a massive positive difference in areas like west Belfast and beyond.

“This attack on Harry is an attack on the entire community.

“It baffles me why this attack and this threat was carried out on Harry.

“Those involved need to come out and give the rationale and explain to this community, to Harry and his 85-year-old mother why this threat was carried out.

“It should never have happened.”

The threats come after senior Sinn Fein members were warned by police of dissident republican plots to attack them.

Deputy leader Michelle O’Neill and MLA Gerry Kelly were made aware of threats against them a short time after attending a PSNI recruitment event.

Mr Maskey said all the threats are “unjust” and “uncalled for”.

“As a Sinn Fein elected representative, obviously you are concerned, concerned for your own family members as well and have to carry out your own security measures,” he added.

A PSNI officer said a report was received around 9.30pm on Friday that two pipe bombs had been left in the Andersonstown area.

“Police attended and carried out extensive searches,” Chief Inspector Gary Reid said.

“Nothing untoward was found in either location.

“However, if anyone should come across anything which appears suspicious, do not lift or touch it.

“Rather, phone police immediately on 999.

“Anyone with information is asked to get in touch on 101, quoting reference 1890 of 21/02/20.”

PA