Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein has said that the homes of former leader Gerry Adams and another prominent party member have been attacked with explosive devices.
Police said on Saturday there were “remnants of large industrial, firework-type devices, capable of causing
serious damage or injury” at the scene of the attacks.
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An explosive device was thrown at Adams’ home in Belfast overnight, and another one targeted the home of the party’s former Northern Ireland Chairman Bobby Storey.
Adams told journalists that no one was hurt in either attack, but that two of his grandchildren had been in his driveway 10 minutes before and could have been killed.
The Belfast attacks came after days of street violence in Northern Ireland’s second city Londonderry, which police blamed on Irish nationalists opposed to a 1998 peace deal that Adams helped broker.
Asked if dissident Irish nationalists were responsible for the attack on his home, Adams said that “there may be a connection with what is happening in Derry”, referring to Londonderry.
Adams later said he was willing to meet dissident nationalists and pro-British groups involved in violence in east Belfast in a bid to end recent street violence.
Decades of violence
Northern Ireland’s peace deal largely ended three decades of violence between Irish nationalists who wanted the region to join the Republic of Ireland and pro-British unionists who wanted it to remain British. More than 3,000 died in the violence.
Several groups of dissident Irish nationalists remain active and carry out occasional attacks, but their capacity is tiny compared with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which decommissioned its weapons after the 1998 deal.
Many of the dissidents consider Adams and his Sinn Fein party – the former political wing of the IRA – as having betrayed the Irish nationalist cause by signing a peace agreement with the British government.
Political leaders in Northern Ireland have warned that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and the possibility of infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic for the first time since 1998 could help dissident groups to recruit new members.
Adams led the Irish republican party Sinn Fein from 1983 before stepping down in February this year.