Councillor burned out of Ballycastle home


The UDA is being blamed for an arson attack on the home of a nationalist councillor in County Antrim. Extensive smoke damage was caused to Padraig McShane’s home in the town of Ballycastle early on Saturday.

Mr McShane (pictured) and his family were not at their Whitehall home when the attackers struck shortly before 3am. It is believed flammable liquid was poured through the letterbox and over the front door before being set alight.

It was reported that young people returning from a night out tackled the blaze shortly before firefighters arrived. The interior of the house and family belongings, including clothes, were badly smoke damaged.

A neighbour telephoned Mr McShane to tell him what had happened. He rushed home from Athlone where he and family members were attending a retreat for his niece who suffers from the rare condition Rett Syndrome.

Mr McShane sits on on Moyle District Council and the new Causeway Coast shadow council. He said his family had been shaken be the attack.

“At the minute my focus is on the welfare of my family,” he said. “I would like to thank my neighbours and friends and everybody who offered help and support to the family.”

The independent councillor and his family have now been forced to move out. Local Sinn Fein representative Daithi McKay said: “This is a despicable attack on an elected representative and must be condemned outright.”

Mr McShane, who resigned from Sinn Fein in 2010, has been the victim of loyalist threats in the past.

On July 11 this year the message ‘Padraig McShane - dead man’ was painted on a white sheet and placed on a loyalist bonfire in Dervock, County Antrim. The threat came after he condemned the erection of a British Union Jack flag by loyalists in the grounds a Catholic church in the staunchly loyalist village.

Loyalists had previously put up a ‘Northern Ireland flag’ in the grounds of Our Lady and St John the Evangelist Church while its gates were painted red, white and blue.

In July Mr McShane received a posted threat, apparently from a second loyalist (UVF) murder gang, warning nationalists in Ballycastle who signed on the dole in Ballymoney to ‘beware’.

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