West Belfast MP defiant after shots fired at Sinn Fein constituency office

By Rebecca Black, Press Association

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey has said Sinn Fein will not be deterred from constituency work after shots were fired at a party office.

Bullet casings were found outside the office in the Turf Lodge area on Monday morning.

It is understood that CCTV at the office revealed shots were fired at the office by a gunman on January 3.

It is the second attack on the office in four months, following a previous incident in October when shots were also fired at the building.

Paul Maskey inspects the damage caused to Sinn Fein offices at Connolly House in west Belfast after an arson attack in August (David Young/PA)

Sinn Fein’s headquarters at Connolly House on the Falls Road were damaged in an arson attack last August.

In July the west Belfast home of former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was targeted in a drive-by attack in which an explosive device was thrown at the property from a passing car.

An attack on the home of former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in July 2018 (Video grab courtesy of An Phoblacht from CCTV)

An explosive was also thrown at the house of Sinn Fein activist Bobby Storey on the same night.

Mr Maskey has called for attacks on Sinn Fein offices to stop.

“There has been a number of attacks on our offices throughout west Belfast and we are calling for that to stop,” he said.

“We will not be deterred from the work that we do. We carry out a first class constituency service for the people of west Belfast and people are very thankful for that.

“People have said to us they are disgusted by these attacks.”

Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan points out a mark made by a bullet during a gun attack on their constituency office earlier this month (Rebecca Black/PA)

Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan said they condemned the attacks “in the strongest possible terms”.

“We either stand up to these people or we bend the knee, and we will not be bending the knee,” he said.

“We will not be intimidated, we have lived through years of attacks by loyalists and State forces and these people are not going to deter us from providing a service to the community here in Turf Lodge and the Upper Springfield.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating the incident.

Detective Sergeant Sam McCallum said officers attended the scene and recovered the casings, which were taken away for further examination.

“This was a reckless attack in what is a built-up residential area. Someone could easily have been injured, or worse, by a stray bullet,” he said.

“Thankfully, we are not looking at any injuries.

“I want to make a number of appeals today.

“Were you in the Monagh Crescent area around 2am and the time the incident occurred last Thursday morning, 3rd December?

“If you own a dashcam, please check your footage as you may have captured footage of the incident.

“Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call detectives at Musgrave on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference number 367 08/01/19.”