Tensions are rising in Creggan after an attack by masked men - thought to be members of Republican Action Against Drugs - on the car of a leading Derry republican.
Former prisoner Sean McMonagle, a Sinn Fein member who’s one of the city’s best-known community workers, has accused those involved of trying to foment division among republicans.
A group of masked men attacked his car with hammers outside his home on Rinmore Drive shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
The windscreen, headlights, and other windows were broken in the attack and the bonnet of the car was also damaged.
Mr McMonagle, who chaired last Sunday’s Volunteers’ Commemoration at the City Cemetery, said he believes he was targeted because of his political views and because he has spoken out against RAAD.
“I don’t want to get into speculation about which group was involved because it would force me to use the term ‘republican’ and these groups are anything but republican,” he said.
“I have made my views well-known in terms of what I think of these groups and this attack has not changed that. It has strengthened it,” he added.
Mr McMonagle also accused those behind the attack of trying to turn Creggan into a ghetto. “I am appealing to the community, particularly republicans - including those who have become disaffected - to ask themselves what the people who attacked my car have to offer. People need to make a stand. We need to move forward and not allow these people to turn the area back into a ghetto, not just in appearance but also dictated to by fear like it was when I grew up under the British army and RUC.
“The people who are responsible for this attack, and other attacks, are looking to create confusion and conflict within the community, particularly within the republican family. We will not allow that to happen,” he said.
The attack has been condemned by political and community leaders in Creggan. A demonstration to show solidarity with Mr McMonagle was to be held in Rinmore last night.
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney described the attack as “cowardly and sickening.” “I defy these people that if they have a legitimate or otherwise grievance against Sean McMonagle or anyone else in the community to come out from behind their masks and skulking in the dark and air these grievances face-to-face. These attacks, although perpetrated against individual community workers, are nonetheless attacks on the community as a whole and have to stop and stop now.”
Gerry Quinn from Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership also said there was no justification for the attack.