Former DUP MLA blames Sinn Fein after son’s car is burnt out

Masked men attack police who attended  the scene of  young people throwing stones and damaging cars in the Stewart Street area on Monday afternoon.
 Police said a number of cars have been damaged and officers are currently at the scene. 
Photo Pacemaker Press
Masked men attack police who attended the scene of young people throwing stones and damaging cars in the Stewart Street area on Monday afternoon. Police said a number of cars have been damaged and officers are currently at the scene. Photo Pacemaker Press

One of the cars that was burnt out in the Markets area of Belfast yesterday belonged to the son of a former DUP MLA Jonathan Craig.

Commenting on last night’s disorder across small pockets of Belfast, the PSNI said children as young as 12 were seen attacking police and targeting parked vehicles.

The former Lagan Valley Assembly member blamed Sinn Fein’s stoking of bonfire tensions in July for the current tensions at anti-internment bonfire sites.

Mr Craig told the Stephen Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster this morning that his son would normally take the train to work but had taken his car on Monday as he had a dentist appointment.

He said: “When he came back to his car in around half three he discovered it had been completely burnt out and there was nothing but a shell left.

“Needless to say he was shocked. Nobody expects this to happen.

He said his son and those others who had their vehicles damaged were “hard-working people who are going about their normal day’s business doing things which benefit society”.

“It creates havoc for the individual involved,” he said. “He’s now got to find a new car at his own expense until somebody in the insurance company or otherwise pays out for the damage that has been done.”

Mr Craig went on to blame Sinn Fein for recent trouble at bonfire sites.

He said: “What I sat back and witnessed right throughout the July period was Sinn Fein - because of their lack of movement with regard to the bigger political picture - trying to antagonise loyalists around bonfires. And they were going about it in a very blunt way through Belfast City Council.

“I’ve no doubt the arguments they’ll make. Health and safety is always used.

“But really what they were doing is trying to undermine the culture behind it. And they were deliberately trying to provoke those people into a reaction.

Thanks to leadership in the unionist community on the ground that did not happen.

“What they didn’t realise was that in less than a month later it was gong to impact big time on themselves and I think we’ve clearly seen the consequences of that.”