Sinn Féin has said that one of its TDs, Martin Kenny, has been the subject of an apparent arson attack at his home in Co Leitrim.

The party's leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said Mr Kenny's car was set alight near his home in Aughavas at around 2.30am today.

She said it appeared to have been deliberate and targeted.

Ms McDonald described it as a despicable act perpetrated by criminal thugs and represented an assault on the democratic system itself.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was appalled by the attack and appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said on Twitter that there is no excuse for the use of violence or vandalism to pursue political aims.

Condemning the incident, Mr Varadkar said it was an "attack on democracy in itself".

Gardaí have confirmed that they are investigating the burning of a car in the area.

During a debate in the Dáil this week, Mr Kenny expressed fear for his safety after speaking about attitudes in society towards migrants.

A community group that has been protesting in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim over a proposal to house 130 asylum seekers in the town has issued a statement condemning the attack on Mr Kenny's car.

Ballinamore Community Group said the demonstration in Ballinamore has been conducted in a peaceful and respectful manner and it is our firm commitment that it will continue in the same way.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan has also condemned the attack, describing it as a "shocking at of violence and intimidation".