Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein TD says having his car burnt out was traumatic

Martin Kenny had his car burned out in an alleged arson attack on Bank Holiday Monday.

Gardai are investigating (Niall Carson/PA)
Gardai are investigating (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon, PA

A Sinn Fein TD has said having his car burned out in an apparent arson attack was “traumatic”.

Sligo/Leitrim deputy Martin Kenny’s vehicle was burned out at his home in Aughavas, near Ballinamore in Co Leitrim, in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mr Kenny has supported a proposal to accommodate asylum seekers in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, where a local community group has mounted a round-the-clock silent protest in opposition to the plan.

In an interview with Ocean FM, he said there is no suggestion that any of those involved in the protest were involved in the incident.

He said the destruction of his car was “traumatic”, adding that his vehicle was parked near to his house and that the flames from the fire cracked one of the windows of his home.

There was sheer panic in the house. My wife was very distressed and worried Martin Kenny

“It’s just crazy, I can’t believe it… I woke up around two in the morning on Sunday night to hear hissing and cracking and then I seen the flames so we rang the fire brigade,” he said.

“There was sheer panic in the house. My wife was very distressed and worried,” he said.

“We were fortunate. If it was closer to the house, there could be a lot more damage done. We are where we are, as a Garda sergeant said to us last night, it is steel and glass and plastic, they are all replaceable.

“It’s important to say that there’s only one person responsible for what happened here the other night and that’s the person who did it. They’re the only ones responsible for that. I want to make that clear.”

He said since the attack, he has received thousands of messages of solidarity and support for him and his family.

Mr Kenny called ongoing demonstrations being held by Ballinamore Community Group against plans to home asylum seekers in Ballinamore “regrettable.”

“The situation in Ballinamore has become a very tense and difficult situation. To say it is regrettable is an understatement,” he said.

“The handful of people who are at the head of that really need to look at what happens when you fire things up to a high level and what impact that has, and the consequences it has, which is beyond their control,” he said.

In a statement, Ballinamore Community Group condemned the attack on Mr Kenny and said the demonstrations will continue.

“The demonstration in Ballinamore has been conducted in a peaceful and respectful manner and it is our firm commitment that it will continue in the same way. Any other elements are not indicative of the community of Ballinamore,” it said.

PA

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