A TD who has previously received death threats for his support of asylum seekers has had his car burnt out overnight. Martin Kenny, a Sinn Féin TD for Sligo-Leitrim, was at home with his family when they noticed the fire at 2.30am.
Kenny recently received a number of death threats and “vile messages” for his support of asylum seekers. The TD has backed a proposal to house asylum seekers in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. Kenny said he was not taking the threats seriously as “someone who is going to do something does not text you first to tell you they are going to do it”.
But in the early hours of Monday morning Kenny’s car was destroyed by fire as it sat in his driveway. According to the gardaí, they are investigating the possibility that the fire was set deliberately.
A “deliberate and targeted attack”
Politicians have condemned the apparent attack. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that her colleague’s car was set on fire “in what appears to have been a very deliberate and targeted attack”. She went on to say that:
An attack on the home or property of an elected public representative is a deeply serious and sinister development. It represents an attack on the democratic system itself.
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan has said he is “appalled by the attack”. He argued:
In a democracy we deliberate and debate – there is no place for violence. An attack on an elected member is an attack on all of society. It is an attack on democracy. I am asking anyone with information to please contact the Gardaí.
And on Twitter, health minister Simon Harris described the incident as “Despicable, callous and sickening”.
Calling out the far right
In recent days Kenny has called out the far right in Ireland. Discussing the discovery of the bodies of 39 people in the back of a lorry in Essex, he argued that the same people who “peddle far right ideology” in Ireland “may be happy that 39 fewer immigrants will be coming” here.
He highlighted that:
The language the far right uses and the tone of speech that it normalises has taken root among people who would otherwise be decent and reasonable.
Kenny went on to declare:
Fearmongering discussion about being overrun has become common and acceptable language.
And as a result, he asked tánaiste Simon Coveney
to assure me that he is prepared to stand against prejudice and that the Government is prepared to stand against this sort of thing creeping into our society.
Featured image via Flickr – Sinn Féin