MP calls for an end to attacks against Travellers

July 8, 2013

Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has described the recent acts of violence, intimidation and arson carried out against traveller families by people claiming to represent the Continuity IRA as unsubstantiated and dangerous.

The MP was speaking following a number of weeks of escalating violence which has seen a pipe bomb, arson attacks and shots being fired at members of the Travelling Community in Newry and Bessbrook by the CIRA.

The most recent attack where shots were fired into the home of a travelling family in Newry’s Crannard Gardens, prompted the family to come forward to local press to plead for the organisation to withdraw its threat against them.

Speaking during a press conference last week which was co-ordinated by Community Restorative Justice (CRJ), mother of eight Kathleen Ward denied the CIRA’s claims that the family were involved in drug dealing and said her family had “nothing to hide.”  She urged the CIRA to contact the CRJ so the family could meet with them to prove they had no links to the drug trade.

Mr Murphy demanded the intimidation of travelling families to stop.

“These families have come forward to reject the claims by CIRA that they are involved in the drugs trade” he said,

“The families have said that there is no basis for these claims and I would call on those responsible to put forward any evidence to the contrary and to stop what they are doing.

“The people purporting to represent the Continuity IRA are using these families to create political capital and manufacture support for their own organisation.  They claim to be working for a united Ireland – threats and intimidation towards a community already marginalised is certainly no way to go about this.

“These reckless attacks against homes where children live should stop immediately before someone is seriously injured.”