The sectarian attack on a young couple’s car in north Armagh has been branded as a ‘hate crime’ by a local councillor.
The couple’s Audi was parked in the driveway of their home at Bannfoot in the Charlestown village when it was smashed with a breeze block.
The incident happened not far from where Muckley Orange Hall was burnt out in an arson attack last week.
A man who was in the house at the time, believes he heard a bang at around 1am on Tuesday morning.
When he woke he discovered the car was badly smashed and a breeze block sitting on the roof.
The windowscreen was very severely damaged in the attack.
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said the couple had just moved into the house a week ago and the woman was a relative of his.
And he believes the attack was in retaliation for the arson attack at Muckley Orange Hall near Charlestown a week ago.
“I would like to condemn unreservedly the sectarian attack on the couple’s vehicle.
“A breeze block was deliberately thrown at the occupants’ car and caused considerable damage.
“One of the occupants was at home at the time and has only moved into the area this last week and has been left quite shaken.
“I have no doubt that this is a ‘Hate crime’ and follows on from the recent attack on Muckery Orange hall last week.
“The people that commit these attacks offer nothing to society and only cause further division and hatred within the community.
“I know personally a number of residents in the Bannfoot area and some have contacted me to voice their disgust at what has happened.
“If we are to have a shared and peaceful society we have to respect and tolerate each others views and beliefs,” said Cllr McAlinden.
Ulster Unionist Cllr Colin McCusker also condemned the attack.
“While it is unclear why they have been targeted, if there is any hint that it has been done in the name of the Orange Order, or is in retaliation for the attack on Muckery Orange Hall, I can only say that it has not been done in th ename of local people who belong to the Orange Institution.
“the people who carry out these attacks have nothing to offer society and I would once again call for any information to be provided to the police.”
Mr David Abraham of Muckley Orange Hall also condemned the attack on the young couple’s car.
“I very much condemn this and any sectarian attack. I very much doubt that this has been done in the name of the Orange Order,” he said.