Police in Northern Ireland are investigating after an explosive device was found outside the house of Martin Finucane, brother of murdered Irish nationalist solicitor Pat Finucane.
A "crude explosive device" was discovered outside Martin Finucane's West Belfast home in the early hours of February 20. A window at the front of the house was reportedly shattered after the device was thrown at the home.
PSNI said: "Shortly after 6:30 am, it was reported that an object was thrown at the front window of a house in the area causing the outer pane of glass to smash. A vehicle was heard making off from the scene. On further examination, a suspicious object was discovered in the front garden. ATO [Army Tactical Operations] were tasked and declared the object to be the remnants of a crude explosive device that did not ignite. Two adults who were in the house at the time of the incident were not injured."
Detective Sergeant Keith Wilson said: “A motive for this attack has not yet been established. We are extremely fortunate no one was injured in what was a reckless act in a built up area."
PSNI is urging anyone with any knowledge of the attack to contact them.
Speaking after the incident, Martin Finucane said the attack could have been "catastrophic:"
Martin Finucane says a device thrown at his west Belfast home this morning could have had “catastrophic” consequences
The brother of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane was in the property with his son when he heard a loud thud followed by the sound of a motorbike pic.twitter.com/UXS5xVwJn2— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 20, 2020
He later told BBC News Northern Ireland: "It could have ignited, thankfully it didn't.
"I spoke to the army technical officer this morning, he said if it had gone up it would have caused damage. It would have exploded."
Finucane added: "Firstly, I don't understand why it has happened.
"Secondly, I hope I am the last person to be attacked. If it's in connection with any ulterior motive, as we all know, threats have been issued to members of Sinn Féin.
"I would like them to explain why this has happened to me, I am not a member of Sinn Féin."
Response to the attempted attack on Martin Finucane
Martin Finucane is the brother of Pat Finucane, an Irish nationalist solicitor who was murdered in 1989 when he was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his family. It has long since been believed that British agents and members of the now-defunct RUC colluded in Finucane's murder.
Pat Finucane's son and Martin's nephew John Finucane, newly-elected North Belfast MP representing Sinn Fein, responded to the apparent attempted attack on his uncle:
At 6.30am today the home of my uncle Martin was attacked.
The front windows were broken & an explosive device was thrown at Martin’s home while he was inside.
Those who carried out this attack are trying to intimidate my family and this community.
They will not succeed. pic.twitter.com/OdRHqYA5QC— John Finucane MP (@johnfinucane) February 20, 2020
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said: "A crude explosive device has been left outside the west Belfast home of a brother of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane early this morning.
"This is wrong and I unreservedly condemn it.
"This attack is reckless and shows a callous disregard for the Finucane family and the local community."
This attack on a human rights campaigner is an attack on the entire community https://t.co/JT2XJN4EYB— Paul Maskey (@PaulMaskeyMP) February 20, 2020
Maskey called upon anyone with information regarding the attack to contact the police.
Relatives 4 Justice, a group co-founded by Martin Finucane that campaigns for people who were killed by loyalist paramilitaries and British security forces, also condemned the incident:
We are absolutely sickened that a bomb has been thrown at the home of one of our founding members, Martin Finucane. Martin has traveled the world to shine light on state collusion, in his brother’s case and hundreds of others. Our solidarity is with with him this morning— Relatives 4 Justice (@RelsForJustice) February 20, 2020
Dissident groups deny involvement
The attempted attack came only days after Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O'Neill and her colleague Gerry Kelly said that PSNI had warned them that dissident republicans were planning attacks on party leaders.
The Guardian reports, however, dissident republican groups have issued statements distancing themselves potential attacks.
Saoradh, the political wing of the New IRA, said that there was no dissident republican campaign that targeted Sinn Féin members, while Republican Sinn Féin, politically aligned with the Continuity IRA, also dismissed the claims.