The home of Newry Aontú candidate and Hospital Campaigner Sharon Loughran has been targeted by Loyalist graffiti. Loyalists wrote “Aontú IRA out” and “UDA” on her property. Commenting Sharon Loughran stated;
“This has come as a massive shock to me. It is an attack on my home and it is a violation. As a result it as created significant stress. I have reported this shocking incident to the police and I am meeting them today. It makes no sense what so ever. I am an paediatric A&E nurse in Daisy Hill Hospital and I decided to run for council to campaign to save key surgery services at the hospital. In my work as an paediatric A&E nurse I work for everyone in the community. Our campaign to save surgery services is of benefit to everyone living in Newry and beyond”.
“This attack on my home is also incredibly wrong as it tries to link Aontú with a prescribed organisation. Aontú is 4 years old. We didn’t exist during the troubles. We are a grass roots political organisation with no links to any outside organization at all. Indeed many of our members are former SDLP , Fianna Fail and even Labour Party members. Most of our members were never members of any other political party and are new to political activism. Indeed since our formation we have reached out and met with many within the Protestant and unionist community”.
“That this type of intimidation is happening in 2023 is incredible. That we have a never ending political vacuum at Stormont is in no doubt not helping the development of good community relationships. Newry is a great town and the vast majority of people no matter what their background is would have no tolerance for this type of sectarian intimidation. I will not be intimidated, I will not be moved in my fight for Daisy Hill Hospital. I genuinely want to work for everyone in in this great town”.
Speaking in support of Sharon Loughran, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD stated. “This is a shocking effort to intimidate a community activist out of running for council. Its an attack on the democratic process. Its especially mind boggling given that Sharon’s work has always been to help both communities. Indeed Aontú’s vision of Ireland is that of Wolfe Tone. We want to create an Ireland where Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter can be who they are without fear or favour. Aontú will not deviate from this key core objective”.