Councillor Padraig McShane burnt out of his home in 'sectarian' attack
A councillor has been forced from his home after it was burnt out by arsonists.
Independent Moyle councillor Padraig McShane, a former member of Sinn Fein, was in the Republic when his Ballycastle house was torched in the early hours of Saturday.
The White Hall Avenue house was badly damaged, meaning the councillor, his wife and two teenage children have had to move out.
Last night Mr McShane declined to talk in detail about the attack.
"I'm concentrating on my family's welfare," he said.
"I would like to thank neighbours, friends, clergy and others for their support."
Mr McShane's sister Cara, a Moyle Sinn Fein councillor, said: "I condemn the attack on my brother, an elected representative. His family have been hugely impacted by this mindless attack."
It is understood that flammable liquid was poured through the letter box before clothes left to dry on a bannister caught fire.
North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay branded it a "despicable attack on an elected representative".
Moyle Council chairman Donal Cunningham said: "Any attack on a democratically elected representative is an attack on democracy itself and is totally unacceptable".
Alliance Policing Board member, Chris Lyttle MLA, said there could be no justification for the attack.
"Somebody could have been seriously injured or killed," he said.
"Elected representatives should be able to work on behalf of their constituents without the fear of being attacked or intimidated. My thoughts go out to Councillor McShane. Nobody should have to go through this sort of experience."
Yesterday, one media report suggested that the UDA was behind the attack. Mr McShane has been an outspoken critic of loyalists.
In Dervock this year, loyalists placed an Irish tricolour with the words 'Padraig McShane dead man' written on it on an Eleventh Night bonfire.
In 2011, around 150 people protested outside a sports facility in Bushmills, which Mr McShane, the then council chairman, was due to officially open. They claimed he had made sectarian comments about a parade.