Arson attack on hijacked van is widely condemned

Widespread condemnation followed the burning out of a vehicle in Lurgan on Friday evening.

A van was hijacked and set on fire in the Bells Row area causing major traffic disruption on the railway line and in the north Lurgan area.

Image, used with permission, from Twitter of a van on fire in Lurgan on 08-03-19. Added by AK

Image, used with permission, from Twitter of a van on fire in Lurgan on 08-03-19. Added by AK

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly condemned the attack, saying: “It looks like those intent on causing trouble and disruption in Lurgan still haven’t got the message that their actions are not welcome.

“Thankfully parents took the young people away from the scene to prevent them from getting dragged into the disorder and are to be commended for their swift action.

“Those involved are not representative of this community, they are a plague on the area and it’s long past the time for them to go.”

Sinn Fein Cllr Keith Haughian also condemned the theft and hijacking of a van in Kilwilke on Friday night.

“The youth club had to be evacuated much to the distress of the young people involved.

“Those involved are anti-community and these actions do not have the support of the community.”

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart condemned the incident saying she believed it was a small group of republicans trying to lure police into the area.

She linked it to the sentencing of republican Sean McVeigh, who was jailed for 25 years for the attempted murder of a police officer in 2015.

“This is a welcome sentence and has obviously caused these individuals to react in this way.

“These people are not representative. They are holding our town to ransom.

“Lurgan is a great place to live, work and do business and the message is clear terrorism didn’t succeed in days gone by, it won’t succeed now or in the future.

Ulster Unionist spokesperson for Lurgan, Louise McKinstry, has expressed her exasperation at the actions of mindless hooligans who set fire to a van on the rail lines in Lurgan.

“These persistent attempts to disrupt the smooth working of this vital transport link can only be met with condemnation from the people of Lurgan who have had to suffer for too long at the hands of the thugs who carry out these attacks.

“There can be no justification for this act, there can be no support for those who continue to disrupt people’s lives in this manner,” she said, calling on anyone with information to contact the PSNI by phoning 101..