By Gemma Burns

A n Ardoyne Sinn Féin councillor’s car was covered in paint in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) in what republicans in the area say is the latest in a series of attacks on them in recent months.

Councillor Gerard McCabe’s car was covered in paint outside his Balholm Drive. The councillor said the damage to his car is part of a campaign of intimidation against republicans in the Ardoyne area. Leaflets have been handed out and  derogatory graffiti has also been painted on walls about other republicans in the area including Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly and Joe Marley from residents’ group CARA.

Joe Marley’s late father, Larry Marley, is a republican icon, one of the key organisers of the 1983 Long Kesh Great Escape who was shot dead by the UVF in 1987. His funeral was delayed for three days and became the focus of widespread protest and rioting as attempts to bury him with full military honours were violently opposed by the British Army and RUC.

Gerard McCabe said the attacks on respected republicans and their families will not prevent them from carrying out their work in the area and added that they won’t be intimidated.

“This latest cowardly attack in the early hours of Thursday morning involved splashing paint all over our family car,” he said. “This is only one in a series of attacks over recent months on my family and other local republicans who are highly respected by this community.

“The attacks have generally been with paint and also involving graffiti and fly-posting in the district during the night.

“I won’t be deflected from representing this community that elected me last May.”

The councillor, whose brother Patrick was shot dead by the British Army in 1973, said local republicans have suffered enough throughout the Troubles without them now being targeted by elements within their own community.

“My family and the families of other local republicans that have been attacked suffered assassinations during the conflict at the hands of British soldiers and loyalists,” he said. “These few cowardly thugs are beneath contempt and already I’ve been proud to have many calls of solidarity from neighbours and constituents. I’ll continue to do my utmost to deliver for my community regardless of mindless acts like these.”

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