Video: Anger over sustained attack on hub for former republican prisoners

Vandals who smashed over a dozen windows at the offices of a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Moor at the weekend have been branded idiots and criminals.

Tar Abhaile, which has provided vital services for hundreds of republican ex-POWs since it was established in 1995, is counting the cost of what staff and volunteers believe was a sustained and deliberate attack late on Saturday, going into Sunday, morning.

Sean McMonagle, of Tar Abhaile, said the repair bill for damage at the West End Park office will be substantial.

“This attack is going to cost us hundreds of pounds, if not thousands, in terms of repairing the glass.

“We’ve no idea why it was carried out by idiots, criminals, hoods, whatever you want to call them.”

Pius McNaught, another Tar Abhaile staffer, said: “The scale of this attack would tell you that this wasn’t just someone throwing a stone on their way home and by chance smashing a window. When we came to check on the building we found a large amount for bricks and bottles strewn all over the place.”

Mr. McMonagle said he wasn’t sure if the vandalism, following so closely on the tail of Thursday’s election, had been deliberately timed.

“The timing, was it coincidental? I don’t know. All I can say is that it was very deliberate. It was very vicious and it was carried out by criminals and hoods.

“It was also very concentrated on the front office, and on the front hallway as well. Bars were used, multiple stones, bottles. As I say, it was a very deliberate, very vicious, very sustained attack.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly offered his support to the staff and users of the centre.

“This is just an attack on the community, an attack on republicans and on republican ex-prisoners.

“It’s not wanted. Whoever done it needs to stand up and say why they are attacking these people, why they are attacking these services.”

The PSNI said it’s investigating the attack.

A spokesperson confirmed that police in Strand Road received a report of criminal damage at premises in the West End Park area on Sunday, March 5, during which a number of windows were broken.

Enquiries are ongoing and the PSNI appealed to anyone with information to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 741 or alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously by telephoning 0800 555 111.