SDLP councillor Brian Tierney and his wife Cheryl say they’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of solidarity after they were targeted in an arson attack on Friday.
The couple issued a statement after a car parked outside their Glencaw Park home was set alight after 10 p.m. on Friday.
The fire was extinguished by a member of the public and no one was injured but Colr. Tierney and his young family were left shaken by the incident.
They said: “We are truly overwhelmed by the support we have received from our family, from across this city and across the island.
“The support we have received from SDLP members and the party’s leadership has been incredible and we’d like to thank them for that.
“The kind words, too, from across the political spectrum, including the Secretary of State has been a source of comfort to us both.
“We will not be deterred by this attack and it will not stop the work that we’re engaged in to make Derry a better place for everyone living here.
“The generosity that we have seen, from across the city and from across the island, far outweighs the hate of those who carried out this act. We are Derry people. We are proud to have the support of the people of Derry. And we’ll continue to do all we can to make this city a better place.”
Colr. Tierney’s colleague, the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, condemned the attackers.
Mr. Eastwood said: “I condemn those responsible for this attack in the strongest possible terms.
“Colr. Tierney’s wife and young children were at home at the time and are understandably shaken by this incident.
“Brian Tierney is an outstanding public representative who works tirelessly for everyone in our community.
“He will not be deterred from continuing the excellent work he is doing on the ground in Galliagh and the wider Ballyarnett area.”
The SDLP leader said those behind the attack will not distract Colr. Tierney from his role as the public representative of the people of the Ballyarnett District Electoral Area (DEA).
“SDLP representatives over the years have faced all sorts of intimidation and threat. It didn’t stop us working for our communities then and it won’t stop us now. I urge anyone with any information to get in touch with the PSNI directly,” he said.
Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion, a former constituency colleague, visited the Tierney home following the attack.
She joined in the condemnation.
“Firstly, I would like to offer my full to support to Brian and his family following this attempted arson attack on the family car. What happened last night was not only an attempt to intimidate an elected representative and his family but also threatening and intimidating the entire community by anti-democratic groups. Elected representatives have to be able to go about their work and the cut and thrust of politics without being targeted in this way.”