A SINN FÉIN councillor said he won’t be intimidated by the people who petrol-bombed his car in his driveway.
Speaking after a petrol bomb attack on his car last night, Waterford City Sinn Féin Councillor John Hearne has said no amount of intimidation will stop him from challenging criminality in his community.
No one was injured in the incident outside his house last night.
The only way to stop these people is to cooperate with the gardaí despite threats and intimidation. No amount of intimidation will stop me from challenging criminality in my community.
He said that he has been involved in efforts to curb the activities of gang members in the Waterford area.
“There is a gang down here intimidating people for a long time,” he said. He said he had met Minister Alex White on the issue, and senior drugs squad officers were sent to Waterford as a result.
He believes that it is this gang that is involved in the petrol bombing of his car.
Hearne said that a new system was brought in whereby people could go to the gardaí with information, but didn’t have to go to court. “The system is going very well,” he said.
When he heard the noise of the explosion last night, he thought it was “a trailer dropped off”, but when he and his neighbours looked outside, they saw his car on fire.
“We were afraid the [petrol] tank would blow up,” he said, adding that his girlfriend “got an awful fright”.
The gardaí were on the scene around an hour later, said Cllr Hearne. “They were so busy – when they left they had five other jobs to go to. It’s not their fault,” he said.
Cllr Hearne said that a bottle containing the petrol bomb was thrown in the back of his car.
He will not let the incident deter him from his work, however. “The community is very strong about these people,” he said of the gang members. “We’ve got massive support from the community.”
Hearne said that a month ago he heard the gang was looking for information on his house, and he went to the gardaí about this.
“I’m 30 years in Sinn Féin and we’ve never been intimidated,” he said, adding that Waterford is a “very peaceful place” but that one gang “is into moneylending”.
“Those responsible for the petrol bomb on my car last night have only strengthened my resolve,” said Cllr Hearne.
I encourage anyone with any information to bring it forward to the gardaí and to cooperate with any inquiries they may launch.
First published 15:51