THERE HAS BEEN widespread condemnation after a journalist and an SDLP politician in Northern Ireland were both sent a bullet in the post.
A 9mm bullet and a sympathy card intended for SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone were intercepted by the Royal Mail at a sorting office in Antrim over the weekend. The sympathy card contained McGlone’s name and photograph.
McGlone said the people who had sent the package were “faceless fascists”.
“This is obviously not something that is a pleasant experience, for me or my family; however, those who sent it will not put me off doing my job – that is representing the people of Mid Ulster,” he said.
A number of other elected representatives across Northern Ireland have had similar threats and attacks on homes and offices in recent weeks as tensions and violence have increased over the flying of the Union flag on government buildings.
Separately, the PSNI intercepted a letter containing a bullet which was addressed to a Belfast-based journalist at the weekend. The journalist, who has not been identified, had been reporting on loyalist rioting in Belfast.
The president of the National Union of Journalists said the letter was the “latest in a series of despicable attempts to intimidate journalists in Northern Ireland”. In a statement, Barry McCall said:
This is a despicable attempt to intimidate journalists working in extremely difficult circumstances. The posting of a bullet to a newspaper, addressed to a named journalist, represents an attack on journalism and democracy.
The intimidation follows an attack at the weekend on the home of another SDLP councillor.
Claire Hanna, her husband and their baby daughter were not at home when shots from a high-powered ball bearing gun were fired at their home in south Belfast, hitting the front windows and door.
The councillor said she would not be intimidated by what she called “fascist elements with no respect for democracy”.
“The last number of weeks have been disturbing for those of us who aspire to a genuinely shared future, and to the principle that all here can be British, Irish or both as they so choose,” she said.
“This attack won’t stop me working to promote core SDLP values of partnership, equality and mutual respect”.