Gerry Adams and Storey attackers are enemies of peace, says Sinn Fein's McDonald
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald last night claimed those behind the attacks on the homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey "had no right to call themselves republicans".
She was speaking at a rally in west Belfast to show solidarity to the two senior republicans "and every family that has been subjected to intimidation and fear over the last number of days and weeks".
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Hundreds turned out to show their support after explosive devices were thrown at the homes of Mr Adams and Mr Storey on Friday night. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but a dissident republican faction is being blamed.
No one was hurt in either incident and Mr Adams has handed CCTV images of the incident at his home to the police.
The former Sinn Fein leader was cheered to the stand and repeated his challenge to those behind the attacks to meet him and explain themselves.
He said: "I'm thankful that no one was hurt and I repeat, you're either for peace or against it.
"And if you feel there's justification in bombing our homes then step up and explain yourself, justify your actions. Stand over what you have done and explain your rationale behind it."
Mr Storey added: "This is not the first time my house has been attacked, but these things will not deflect us and these people need to go back to where they came from.
"There is a despair and frustration they're taking out, but they need to understand from us that we're on a particular journey - a road to a new, modern and united Ireland. They need to get that message."
Ms McDonald told the crowd that under no circumstances would those responsible for the attacks be allowed to succeed.
"Unlike the cowards who attacked their family homes, Gerry and Bobby are genuine republicans and have stood firm against those who would attempt to drag us back to the failures of the past," she said.
"And let me be absolutely clear, the people who launched these attacks are enemies of our community.
"They are enemies of peace. They are against their own people and against their own community."
"But it is also important to state that the attacks on the people of the Bogside, the Fountain, in Portadown and the Short Strand are also wrong and a measure of the failure of those behind them," Ms McDonald added.
"The sectarian attacks that we have seen in recent days were disgraceful.
"Those involved have no ri)ght to claim to be Irish republicans because, in their sectarianism and their anti-social activities, they are the very opposite of republicanism.
"The only war these people are waging is a war against their own people and against their own communities.
"They are a disgrace and they should stop."
She said that people in Belfast and beyond "now want to move on and carve a new future for themselves and their families in a new Ireland".
"We're Irish republicans. We're about ending partition. We're about building an island that's based on values of equality, freedom, prosperity and opportunity, and those values and that mission is shared by the communities we represent," she said.
Ms McDonald added that there was no appetite or excuse for the violence that took place.
She said: "Attacks on republican leaders, attacks on neighbours and communities wherever they happen are attacks on society as a whole and society understands that.
"We will not be put off our task. We will not be bullied.
"We will not be intimidated and more importantly communities right across the north of Ireland and beyond will not be bullied or intimidated either.
"Communities will not allow them to succeed.
"They will fail."