Explosion screen shot

S.F. condemn violent dissidents

A police vehicle outside Gerry Adams’s Belfast home following the attack.

By Irish Echo Staff

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Northern Ireland Police Service has not publicly attributed blame for Friday night’s attacks on the Belfast homes of former president of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams and leading party activist Bobby Storey.

However, dissident republicans are being blamed by many, including Mr. Adams’s Sinn Féin colleagues.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Mary Lou McDonald, a fellow TD and his successor as party president, said at an Andersonstown rally on Monday evening in support of the two men, “Unlike the cowards who attacked their family homes, Gerry and Bobby are genuine Republicans and have stood firm against those who would attempt to drag us back to the failures of the past,”

“And let me be absolutely clear here today, the people who launched these attacks are enemies of our community. They are enemies of peace. They are against their own people and against their own community.”

CCTV footage has emerged of the device being thrown on Friday night from a passing car and exploding in the driveway of Mr Adams’ home, where it caused significant damage to a parked vehicle.

Mr Adams said he was thankful “no-one was hurt.”

“Two of our grandchildren were in the driveway of my home ten minutes before the attack,” said Mr Adams.

“I want to appeal to everyone to be calm. We are involved in a process of change and some people are resistant to chance.

“If our families can remain calm then we are asking for everyone else to stay calm.”

A device is thrown from a passing car.

Lights from the effects of the explosion a moment later.

Mr Adams said those who launched the double attack should speak with him.

“Come and sit down and explain to me what this is about, give me the rationale for this action.”

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly also condemned the attacks.

“These were reprehensible and cowardly attacks on the family homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey. Grandchildren were in the driveway of Adams's home minutes before the attack.

“I would appeal for calm. These attacks are the desperate acts of increasingly desperate and irrelevant groups.”

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said: “This week we have seen those who remain wedded to violence bring chaos and fear onto our streets, in scenes which we had all hoped we would never witness again.

“We have all worked too hard and come too far to see the peace we have enjoyed put at risk by those who offer nothing to this society but destruction.”

SDLP West Belfast councilor Tim Attwood said the community “are wholly opposed to those who want to bring us back to the past.”

Attwood said, “We have a united message to these marginal groups, there is no place for violence in our society. We are moving forward to build a peaceful, more prosperous Belfast and a better Ireland. The message to these groups is get off the pitch immediately.”

Gerry Adams has survived several attempts on his life, including in 1984 when he was shot several times in a loyalist attack on the car he was travelling in.

Anthony Neeson reported on this story from Belfast.