Belfast Telegraph

Petrol bomb attack on footballer’s mum

Northern Ireland star’s home targeted by sectarian thugs

The home of the mother of Northern Ireland football star Chris Baird has been petrol bombed in a sectarian attack.

The device was thrown at the front window of her house in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, in the early hours of Sunday morning, breaking glass and scorching the windowsill. Mr Baird’s mother and sister were asleep in the house at the time. The flames were extinguished by a passer-by after 3.45am.

The attack on the house is the second in three weeks.

Mr Baird (28) plays for Fulham and has been capped 43 times for Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay said the incident was a case of “attempted murder”. “They are being targeted because they are a Catholic family, not because the attackers knew it was Chris Baird’s mum’s house” he said.

“The family are not involved in anything political. People in Rasharkin are shocked and very angry that they have been singled out. Now that those behind the attacks now know whose house it is, everyone in the area is hoping they will stop the attacks for good.”

Mervyn Storey of the Democratic Unionist Party condemned what he said was a “despicable attack”.

“Yet again we have another family subjected to sectarian hatred and unfortunately the reality is that since April of this year we have had something like 16 sectarian attacks in Rasharkin and 25 since the beginning of the year,” he added.

“It is a hate crime. It is someone venting their hatred and their anger for whatever reason on someone who should not be attacked in this way.”

Mr Storey said he would be meeting with the Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable Matt Baggott to ensure there were “adequate resources” to deal with such incidents.

Police have said the attacks are sectarian, although they are not blaming any particular group.

In the first incident, a brick was thrown through the window of the house three weeks ago.

Baird has captained Northern Ireland in the past, and was first given the role against Liechtenstein in August 2007.

He also plays for Fulham in the English Premiership, and signed a new three-year contract with the London club last week.

The 28-year-old arrived from Southampton in July 2007 and was a key part of the Fulham team that reached the Europa League final in May.

Baird started his career at Ballymena United before joining Southampton's youth academy in 1998, and made his first team debut in March 2003.

He joined Fulham for £3m and was signed by then-manager, the former Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez.

He has won more than 40 international caps and played in the Northern Ireland team which secured a 1-0 win in Slovenia in their Euro 2012 qualifier on 3 September.

Belfast Telegraph


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