Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 14:18 UK

Petrol attackers 'cowardly scum'

Mitchel McLaughlin said those who attacked his house are 'cowardly scum'

The Sinn Féin politician whose Londonderry home was attacked with petrol bombs has said those responsible are "cowardly scum".

At least two devices were thrown at Mitchel McLaughlin's home in the Bogside just before 0100 BST on Monday. Scorch damage was caused to a wall.

His wife and son were also in the house at the time, but no-one was injured.

Mr McLaughlin, the party's National Chairman, said he and his family would "not be intimidated".

"Once more, cowards came in the dark of night and attacked my home in an attempt to intimidate me and my family," he said.

"The difference this time was that they attempted to set my home on fire with petrol bombs with no regard for anyone who was in the house at the time. This is attempted murder and there is no other way to describe it."

The attack was condemned by the deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, who said those responsible needed to "catch themselves on".

"It could have resulted in loss of life, and I think these people who are involved in these types of activities need to recognise there could be a very serious outcome to some of these attacks.

"In this case we don't know specifically who is responsible for these attacks but I believe that it is people from the Bogside area, people who live in the community, and people who have been writing slogans on the wall in support of so-called dissident organisations," said Mr McMcGuinness.

We need to be united to put an end to this nonsense that's going on that's bringing down the name of the Bogside and tarnishing it

Pat Ramsey

Mr McLaughlin, assembly member for South Antrim, lives in the city with his wife and their three sons.

He said his home had been attacked three times in the past month.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for similar attacks in the past, but Mr McLaughlin refused to comment on who he thought was responsible.

"I see no value in adding to speculation. My message to those who disagree with us is 'stand up and make your case if you have a disagreement or think you've got a better way of doing things'," he said.

SDLP assembly member Pat Ramsey, who left the Bogside because of attacks on his house, said those responsible must be stopped.

"For heaven's sake, we need to be united to put an end to this nonsense that's going on and that's bringing down the name of the Bogside and tarnishing it," he said.

"People know who it is - if your son is coming home in the middle of the night after petrol bombs, people must be smelling it off them.

"They should be exposed and they should be handed over, it's as simple as that," said Mr Ramsey.

The attack has been condemned in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Among those who spoke out against the incident were the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, the former DUP leader Ian Paisley, the Foyle MP Mark Durkan, and the Alliance leader David Ford.

The police have appealed for anyone who saw three men running away from the scene to contact them.

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