Sinn Féin’s Belfast headquarters damaged in arson attack

Fire lit at back door of Connolly House in the west of the city in the early hours

 

An arson attack on Sinn Féin’s Belfast headquarters would have destroyed the building if a nearby oil tank had ignited, a party MP said.

Paul Maskey praised the swift action of firefighters who extinguished a blaze lit at the back door of Connolly House in the west of the city in the early hours.

There was no damage reported to the inside of the building. Paint was also thrown at a front window of the building.

The fire started near a pipe running from the Andersonstown Road property’s oil tank. The pipe was left fractured on Monday morning, with oil leaking on the ground.

Fire damage to boarding outside Sinn Féin offices at Connolly House in west Belfast after an arson and paint bomb attack. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire
Fire damage to boarding outside Sinn Féin offices at Connolly House in west Belfast after an arson and paint bomb attack. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Mr Maskey said he was thankful a major oil fire had not caught hold.

“There is an oil tank and obviously an oil pipe that is now busted and leaking,” he said.

“We are very lucky that did not catch fire as well, because if that had caught fire not only would this building have been destroyed but the surrounding buildings would have also been destroyed, so we are thankful for that.”

The incident comes weeks after the nearby homes of senior Sinn Féin figures Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey were targeted with explosive devices.

While the party blamed those attacks on dissident republicans, Mr Maskey said it was “too early” to establish who was behind the arson and paint bomb attack on Connolly House.

“This was an attack on the democratic process. Clearly the people behind this are intent on trying to disrupt the services we provide to all the public.”

Police confirmed the incident is being treated as arson and have appealed for witnesses. - PA