Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Election rally overshadowed by pipe bomb attack

A Sinn Fein election rally in Mullaghbawn on Wednesday evening was dominated with the pipe bomb attack earlier that day, in which young Crossmaglen man, Francis McCabe, was seriously injured.

Addressing the crowd of more than 200, the party’s Westminster candidate for Newry and Armagh, Mickey Brady, said he had been hoping to focus on his planned “positive campaign” ahead of the May elections, but instead the event was “somewhat overshadowed, as both our party and our community finds itself under attack again”.

Extending solidarity to Mr McCabe, whose father is a veteran Sinn Fein member, he said the “gang of violent thugs” responsible for the attack were attempting to intimidate the community by trying to murder an innocent young man.

Vowing to take a stand against those responsible, Mr Brady said: “The British Army couldn’t break the people of this area, loyalist death squads couldn’t break the people of this area and you can be damn sure a gang of violent thugs with no agenda but lining their own pockets won’t break the people of this area,” he told those gathered.

“For our part, we in Sinn Fein will not be dissuaded for one second from our goal of building a reliable, accountable Police Service and better relations between that service and the people of this area.

“If the people who did this think they’ve sent out some sort of message, I can assure them, they haven’t.  What they’ve done is they’ve galvanised the community here and they’ve focused minds on why exactly it’s so important that we rid south Armagh of their violent criminality.

“I want to assure the McCabe family that we and the entire community here stand behind them in solidarity and that we will not rest until the people of this area are free to live in peace and prosperity.”