Police in Derry are appealing for information after three vans belonging to a company whose workers attempted to remove graffiti from Derry’s Walls were burned.
The vans - belonging to property company Omega - were burned in Ballymagroarty, the Bogside and Foyle Springs over the weekend.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan says “nothing can justify such intimidation and destruction.”
“The management and workers of Omega deserve and have the overwhelming support and goodwill of the community. They must be able to go about their lawful business serving the public and complying with contracts proficiently and professionally.
Those workers should not find themselves under this sort of attack or threat simply because of their employment.
No work for which Omega have been engaged offers any affront to the people of this city. However, the violence against their vehicles and the fear created for their personnel and their families is an affront to us all and aimed at intimidating us all.
Those who are intent on bringing these acts of terror to our streets will not succeed.
I urge anyone with information about these attacks to pass it onto the police so that those responsible can be apprehended and brought to justice.”
Derry’s Chamber of Commerce also condemned the attacks.
“The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce condemns the attacks on a leading Chamber member and workers employed by that company,” a statement issued by the Chamber says.
“We condemn absolutely the attacks on a legitimate business and its workers. This is a highly respected business, which is engaged in activities that have helped to improve conditions in this city and is committed to ensuring peace, stability and wealth for our people. It is outrageous that threats and attacks have been made against this business and its workers.
“That business has shown loyalty and commitment to its community. Those who issue threats against the business and its workers and attack its vehicles are acting not just against that one business, but against the local community and against the wellbeing of the city as a whole.
“The Chamber, the community at large and those committed to peace believe that the forum to resolve differences of political opinion is the democratic political process. We commend without reservation all those who work to encourage disaffected voices to come inside the political process. They deserve our support: our children will not thank us if we sleepwalk back into the dark days of the past.”
Threats were also issued against Omega employees
“Those responsible for issuing threats against workers removing graffiti from Derry Walls have nothing to offer our people,” Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney says.
“It says a lot about these organisations describing themselves as socialist republicans that they are reduced to threatening workers employed to keep our environment clean and appealing to residents and visitors alike.
“I call on those who issued the threat to lift it immediately and do so publicly. I also urge those who have contact with these organisations to use whatever influence they may have to have these threats lifted.”
A PSNI spokeswoman says:”Police in Derry are appealing for information following three arson attacks on commercial vans at the weekend.
“On Saturday evening, 26th January, shortly after 9.30pm a white transit van parked at Dove Gardens was set on fire. At around 10pm another transit van parked at Corrib Court in Ballymagroarty was also set on fire. No one was injured.
“On Sunday evening, at around 6.30pm, a van parked at Tranarossan in Springtown was set on fire. A blue Vauxhall Corsa parked close to the van was also damaged by the fire.”
Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed any of these incidents or saw suspicious activity to contact Detectives at Strand Road station on 0845 600 8000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.