Arson attacks on Omega vans condemned

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood pictured outside his constituency office at Northside Shopping Centre. 1301JM06

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood pictured outside his constituency office at Northside Shopping Centre. 1301JM06

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The weekend arson attacks on three vans belonging to Derry building maintenance firm Omega have been condemned by local political and business leaders.

The vans were targeted in a number of areas of the city on Saturday and Sunday night after workers from the firm removing dissident republican graffiti from the Derry walls were threatened.

Sinn F�in's Maeve McLaughlin. (0806MM30)

Sinn F�in's Maeve McLaughlin. (0806MM30)

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin blamed dissident republican for the arson attacks and called on their representatives to explain the motivation behind the incidents.

“These are very serious incidents and the people involved in this organisation need to tell the truth about their actions. The need to explain to the people of this city what cause is being advanced by attacking workers.

“No doubt those responsible would describe themselves as republicans and socialists but their actions in attacking the working class tell a different story,” she said.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood also condemned the attacks and described those responsible as “faceless fascists.”

“The spate of weekend arson attacks on Omega and it’s workers are to be out-rightly condemned by the whole community,” he said.

“The Derry walls belong to Derry’s people. They do not belong to faceless fascists who vandalise and threaten people tasked with carrying out work on our peoples’ behalf.

“These Omega employees were asked to do a job. It was part and parcel of making an honest living for themselves and their families.

“They did not seek the trouble they confronted with at the weekend. My sympathy and support goes to them. They should be assured that the people of Derry stand fully behind them and their families,” he added.

Mr Eastwood also called on dissident republicans to explain their position on the issue. “If dissident republicanism have a problem with the removal of graffiti on Derry’s Walls then they should use the nearest microphone or the nearest newspaper to voice their issues. It isn’t as if it’s very difficult, there are countless outlets available. A coherent and considered political message cannot be condensed into a slogan on a wall,” he said.

A spokesperson for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement stated that Omega employees were not under any threat. “Members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement have met with a number of people regarding this situation including representatives of Omega and community workers. It has been established that no threats exist to Omega staff and this was conveyed to the owner of Omega by community workers last night (Sunday) and confirmed again today (Monday),” the group said.