Gaelic sports club burned out
seandolans.jpg

Loyalist paramilitaries are being blamed for an arson attack which badly damaged a GAA clubhouse in Derry on Wednesday.

The blaze took place at Sean Dolan’s Gaelic Athletic Club in the Creggan Estate.

The PSNI have been strongly criticised for refusing to accept the blaze was deliberate until they received hard evidence to the contrary.

CCTV pictures, now presented to the police, show hooded men around the building before it caught fire.

“It was absolutely arson in our opinion, we have said that from the beginning,” said Sinn Fein’s Raymond McCartney.

“The PSNI made a statement on Thursday that this fire was not suspicious, indeed they said it was an accident.

“When you examine the CCTV footage which was in their possession, then there are suspicions around this and I think this will lead to an investigation.”

JAILED

Meanwhile, two loyalists have been successfully convicted for a sectarian attack on a senior Sinn Fein member.

County Down women Jenna McDowell and Danielle McCutcheon were each handed a two-month sentence at Banbridge Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

The charges related to an attack on Sinn Fein woman Noeleen McPolin, a personal assistant to former Education Minister Caitriona Ruane, and another woman on March 24.

The court heard how both victims were walking in Rathfriland, County Down, when they were chased and confronted by the two defendants. One of the attackers had been heard to shout “Noeleen, the Fenian”.

Ms McPolin was beaten about the head. A male witness had heard words of a “sectarian nature”, the court heard.

Speaking after the sentencing Ms McPolin, said she was “pleased that the judge felt that this assault was a sectarian act and delivered a fit sentence for the crime”.

Ms McPolin said sectarianism was “wrong and must be opposed by all right-thinking people”.

“I was determined to ensure that this case was treated as a sectarian case rather than a common assault and was not prepared to accept a lesser plea in order to highlight and oppose the vile crime of sectarianism,” she said.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News