Irish Republican News · January 24, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
SF councillors assaulted by baying mob

Two Sinn Féin councillors were struck by unionist protesters amid chaotic scenes at a meeting of Limavady Borough Council last week.

The attacks happened after councillors failed to reach agreement on a list of sectarian items to be removed from the public space at the council building.

A crowd of up to 60 protesters arrived, unhappy with the potential implementation of a neutral public space motion, calling for the removal of unionist emblems and similar items. When the debate ended, some protesters launched themselves on Sinn Féin councillors Marion Donaghy and Anne Brolly.

As Ms Donaghy and Ms Brolly were leaving the building, they were confronted a mob of around seventy hardline unionists. Passing through the crowd, they were assaulted, insulted and spat at, despite the presence of the PSNI police.

Ms Brolly’s car was damaged and a large Union flag was draped over her windscreen, preventing her from driving away. The two councillors were forced to return to the building for safety.

Sinn Féin’s leader on Limavady Borough Council Paddy Butcher condemned the attack, which he blamed on the new hardline ‘Traditional Unionist Voice’ party, led by Jim Allister.

Cllr Butcher said:”I lay the blame for this outrage at the door of Jim Allister’s local loose cannon Cllr Leslie Cubitt.

Mr Butcher said Cubitt had repeatedly made provocative and abusive statements which raised the hackles of the audience, eventually forcing the debate to be abandoned.

“This is an attack on democracy,” he said.

“A woman in her late twenties, a woman in her early sixties all on their own traumatised by a mob of seventy loyalists. This is not the work of men, this is the work of cowards.

“Cllr Cubitt’s apologies... were quite hypocritical as it was he himself who issued the rallying call for Unionists to appear at the meeting.

“I saw him with a large Union flag by his case in the chamber. As the PSNI were attempting to disperse the mob I heard him, in the presence of several witnesses including members of the media, shouting “Right lads, thanks for coming.

“If this is Jim Allister’s new vision for Unionism he has questions to answer. I am calling from a public response from MEP Mr Allister on this issue.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News