Hundreds attend protest over attack in Creggan

Around 400 people gathered in Creggan on Thursday night in a show of solidarity with a prominent community worker and republican whose car was attacked by masked men.

Sean McMonagle’s car was attacked by a group of masked men who smashed its windows and headlights at Rinmore Drive shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

The attack - which many believe was carried out by vigilante group, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) - sparked anger in the area and has been condemned by community and political leaders.

Thursday night’s demonstration was organised by local community workers to show support for Mr McMonagle and his family.

The demonstration began in Rinmore Drive, close to where the attack took place, where Derry Sinn Féin chairperson, Andrew McCartney, suggested the crowd march through Creggan to Central Drive.

At Central Drive, outside the Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership office where Mr McMonagle works, political and community leaders addressed the crowd.

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell, a colleague of Mr McMonagle, described those responsible for the attack as “criminals.”

“This intimidation will not work. This community have borne the brunt for 40 years during the struggle and were never cowed or broken and they won’t be cowed now, especially by criminals.

“There is no room for this type of action or behaviour and it will not be tolerated,” he said.

Creggan community leader Tony O’Doherty also condemned the attack and said the attendance at the event showed the level of anger in the community.

“When I first heard the news my first reaction was anger and frustration. People in the area were angry. Not for the first time, Sean McMonagle dampened down that anger.

“The message has to come out that this was an anti-community act. Our presence here shows our revulsion at the attack,” he said.

He also said it was an attack on the entire Creggan community.

“I want the people who carried out this attack, even if they won’t admit it publicly - and I would like them to - to reflect themselves and understand what they have done was an anti-community attack, nothing more, nothing less. It must never, ever, ever be repeated again. We don’t want it,” he said.

Mr O’Doherty also praised the work of the Creggan community leader.

“When you pass the new park at Bishop’s Field and hear the children playing, remember that one man brought that park here. Sean McMonagle brought it to Creggan. He worked for it and secured it for the people of Creggan.

“When you look at the new houses in Oakland Park. Sean, Kevin Campbell and Jimmy Clifford were the people that secured 200 new homes for the people of Creggan. Sean engaged with the contractors from day one to ensure local labour was used. That is the type of work that he does.

“The term community activist is bandied about but no one is more deserving of it than Sean because he cares for this community.”