Councillor says attack on Polish family was 'negative and sinister' as homes evacuated and access to school restricted
A pipe bomb attack in Co Antrim on Wednesday was carried out by racists targeting a Polish family, a local councillor has claimed. Grainne Teggart, the SDLP's group leader on Antrim borough council, said the attack was racially motivated and described it as "negative and sinister".
"I condemn this attack. It's totally unjustifiable and inexcusable," Teggart said. "People in the area are angry at what has happened. This is not in their name. The positive contribution Polish families and other immigrant families make to the local community is in stark contrast to the negative, sinister and despicable contribution of those responsible for this. Not only is this an attack on the family, but everyone else in Antrim."
She said residents of the Oaktree Drive area had been evacuated from their homes, and urged anybody with information about the attack to pass it to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Following the discovery of the explosive device outside the Polish family's home at around 8am on Wednesday, a number of homes were evacuated and access to a local primary school was restricted.
Antrim town has in the past been home to a number of small racist factions linked to the now defunct Loyalist Volunteer Force as well as the Ulster Defence Association. Meanwhile, Republican dissidents are being blamed for a shooting in west Belfast in which a man in his 20s was shot in the legs. He was shot in the republican stronghold of Ballymurphy, the former home of the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams.
The PSNI said the shooting happened at around 9pm on Tuesday night in the Downfine Gardens area. Officers said five shots were fired during the attack, but the victim's injuries were not believed to be life threatening. It is understood the shooting was a so-called punishment attack, carried out by one of the organisations opposed to the political settlement in Northern Ireland.
Over the last year, the Real IRA and other hardline republican groups have increased the number of punishment shootings in nationalist areas across the north of Ireland.