Community worker’s home targeted as patio stone hurled through living room window

‘someone could have been killed’

By Kieran Hughes

A respected Bawnmore community worker and grandfather says he is lucky to be alive after a 24-inch patio stone hurled through his living room window landed where he was sitting only minutes earlier. The attack on Seamus Kelly’s Bawnmore Park home, the latest attack on community representatives in the area, happened in the early hours of yesterday morning (Wednesday).

Earlier this month Sinn Féin Newtownabbey Councillor Gerry O’Reilly was the target of graffiti in the area.

In the latest incident Seamus, chairman of Bawnmore Residents Association, was in bed when the concrete slab came crashing through his living room window at around 1.30am. Only minutes earlier the 64-year-old father-of-ten was sitting near the window.

The weight of the slab smashed the double-glazed window and left furniture damaged.

“Somebody could have been killed,” said Seamus, whose partner Margaret was with him at the time.

“The window is completely through and the furniture has been scrapped but we can easily repair windows, we can’t easily repair lives.”

He said the attack won’t deter him from the community work he has been carrying out for over 40 years.

“There is a minority of 0.01 per cent in the area who are intent on causing trouble, they have been daubing graffiti on walls and attacking the travelling community but they don’t represent anyone in the community,” he said.

“There is somebody with a lot of hate in them. Bawnmore has suffered enough through the years and we don’t want to go back to the old days where terror reigned.”

Another Bawnmore community worker, Colin Denvir, said the community is fully behind Seamus Kelly.

“This attack has been carried out by one or two anti-community people,” he said.

“For a long time Seamy ploughed a lone furrow doing community work in the area and he is very respected for that. The community is fully behind him and it won’t deter him.”

Newtownabbey Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O’Reilly said the attack was “despicable”.

“A number of local community leaders, including myself and my colleagues, have been targeted by cowardly thugs in these attacks under the cover of darkness across North Belfast,” he said.

“Clearly there’s a tiny element of criminals and people involved in anti-community activity that are challenged by those working to build a safe, family environment. We can’t be deflected by mindless acts like this and people should show their support for the Kelly family at this time.”

He demanded prompt action from the PSNI and urged anyone with any knowledge of this or other similar attacks to come forward.

“The Kelly family are respected in the area and Seamus is working hard by showing leadership on a daily basis to improve our community for everyone,” he added.

Police have appealed for information and have asked anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information to contact police at Newtownabbey on 0845 600 8000. Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

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