Adams' grandchildren lucky to escape attack unscathed
Ex-Sinn Fein leader urges those who threw explosive device at his house to 'come and meet me'
The grandchildren of former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams were lucky to escape injury after his home was attacked with an explosive device on Friday night.
Prominent Sinn Fein figure Bobby Storey, who lives near Mr Adams's Belfast home, also had his house attacked.
Mr Adams has called on those who carried out the attack to meet him and explain why they did it.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said officers seized "remnants of large industrial, firework-type devices, capable of causing serious damage or injury" at two houses in west Belfast.
Mr Adams said he did not know who was responsible for the attacks, but added: "There may be a connection between what's happening in Derry. We certainly support the stance taken by the residents of the Bogside." The former party president said "most people would see a connection".
Sinn Fein leaders, including president Mary Lou McDonald, were scathing in their criticism of the extremists behind the rioting and attacks on police in Derry.
Ms McDonald said Mr Adams and his family were lucky to escape without injury.
"He is obviously upset at the turn of events," she said.
"His family, including his grandchildren, were in and around the house when this happened and in fact had been in the driveway just before the device was thrown.
"To those who take these actions I say stop, you are achieving nothing bar causing upset, annoyance and considerable anger in the communities these people come from."
Mr Adams said he was "very, very thankful" that no one was hurt, but said two of his grandchildren were in his driveway only 10 minutes before the attack.
Speaking at a press conference in west Belfast yesterday morning, Mr Adams said: "Obviously those who were involved, like the people that were out in east Belfast or out in Derry, have their own agenda in all of this."
He added: "For those who were involved in the attack, if they have the gumption to sneak up on our homes, I'd like them or their representatives to come and meet me.
"I'd like them to sit down and explain to me what this is about. I'd like those who are involved in exploiting children in Derry to do the same thing, or those who are poisoning the atmosphere in east Belfast and causing havoc to do the same thing."
Mr Adams appealed for calm and referred to "some people" who he said were "resistant to change".
The attacks were also condemned by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. "I unequivocally condemn the violence in Derry and Belfast last night. We will not allow a small minority intent on violence to drag Northern Ireland back to the past," he said.
"We stand with the decent law-abiding people from all communities in the North."
The PSNI said detectives were "investigating incidents at two houses in west Belfast, after reports were received of loud bangs at both locations at around 10.50pm" last Friday.
While police have not yet attributed responsibility, the attacks are likely to be the work of dissident republicans who oppose Sinn Fein's involvement in the peace process and are engaged in localised turf wars in republican strongholds in an effort to wrest support away from the mainstream movement.
Sinn Fein dismisses the dissidents as unrepresentative gangs with no political strategy that use the cloak of republicanism to engage in criminality.
Last Friday's attacks in west Belfast came after six successive nights of dissident-orchestrated violence in the republican Bogside neighbourhood of Derry.