Derry attacks 'sectarian' - PSNI


Several Catholic-owned businesses in a Derry village were damaged today in early morning attacks which police said were being treated as sectarian hate crimes.

More than 20 windows in a public house, butchers’ shop and cafe were smashed some time around 3am in Garvagh. Police appealed for information and said they were studying CCTV footage from the village’s Main Street in a bid to identify the attackers.

SDLP MLA John Dallat blamed loyalists and said it was like a scene from Germany before World War Two when Jewish businesses were singled out for attack.

Mr Dallat, visited the scene during the night, said: “This loyalist element has been systematically trashing the village for years.

“When I went to the village early this morning it was like a scene in Germany in the lead up to the Second World War when the business premises of Jews were systematically selected for smashing up.” In the current economic climate all businesses in small rural towns and villages were finding it extremely difficult to pay their bills and survive, he said.

“They don’t need to be getting phone calls in the middle of the night to tell them to return to their premises as they have been smashed up.” The MLA said just a month ago the a loyalist mob had painted new kerbstones and other property in Garvagh red, white and blue.

Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard said people in Garvagh were disgusted at the sectarian attacks.

“I think that it reveals the most pathetic attitude and the difference between the attackers and those people who work hard and contribute to the community is there for all to see.

“Garvagh has had this negative sectarian image down through the years. Everyone must play their part to get rid of that outdated strain from the town,” he said.