There has been widespread condemnation of the arson attack on the home of independent Moyle councillor Padraig McShane at the weekend.
The councillor and his family were not in the house at the time of the attack which caused “extensive damage” to the White Hall Avenue family home in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Speaking to the Times yesterday (Monday) morning, Cllr McShane declined to comment on the incident but simply said: “I‘m concentrating on my family’s welfare.
“I would like to thank neighbours, friends, clergy and others for their support.”
Yesterday (Monday) police issued an updated appeal.
Detectives continue to appeal for information after an arson attack at residential premises at the Whitehall Avenue, Ballycastle area in the early hours of Saturday morning 4th October and in particular the two males and two females who alerted neighbours about the fire.
It is believed that these four persons were in a dark coloured vehicle travelling country wards around 2:40 am and may have important information relating to the attack.
Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Magee said: “Shortly after 2:40am, it was reported that a flammable liquid was poured through the letter box of a house in the area. Extensive damage was caused to the front door of the property and smoke damage to the interior of the house. No one was in the property during the incident.
“Enquiries are continuing and police would appeal to anyone and in particular these four witnesses to contact police on the non-emergency number 101. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Chairman of Moyle District Council, Cllr Donal Cunningham, condemned the attack saying: “Any attack on a democratically elected representative is an attack on democracy itself and is totally unacceptable.
“This criminal behaviour is not welcome in Ballycastle. I hope the McShane family are able to move on from this ordeal.”
Chair of Moyle Police and Community Safety Partnership, Margaret Anne McKillop, said: “An attack like this will not deter the work of the Council or the PCSP. Anyone with any information should come forward and contact the police. My thoughts are with McShane family at this time.”
Cllr McShane’s sister and Moyle Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane, said: “I condemn without reservation those responsible for this attack. There is no place in our society for those who attempt to intimidate others for whatever reason.
“There is no justification or excuse for this and I would appeal to those involved in such mindless attacks to cease.
“This was an appalling attack on a family home with young children and whilst the destruction of property is bad enough we all know that it could have had much more serious consequences.
“Anyone with information about this attack should give that information to the PSNI.
“As a community we all must stand united against those who wish to engage in hate crimes and face these actions down.”
Cllr Norman Hillis, UUP Group Leader CC and Glens Shadow Council, said: “Shocking to hear that the home of independent Moyle councillor and member of Causeway Coast & Glens Shadow Council Padraig McShane has been targeted in an arson attack overnight.
“Any attack of this sort is to be condemned by us all but an attack on the home of any elected representative is an attack on democracy itself.”
Cllr Padraig McShane was a former member of Sinn Fein but now stands as an independent councillor in Moyle. He was recently also elected to the new Causway Coast and Glens Shadow Council.
Over the weekend, one media report suggested that the UDA was behind the attack. Mr McShane has been an outspoken critic of loyalists.