Calls for end to violence in Northern Ireland as three children are injured
SDLP leader Margaret Richie and Chief Const. Matt Baggott call for new efforts to cease violence
A bomb in Lurgan, County Armagh, aimed at police injured three young children. There has now been a new call for an end to dissident republican violence in Northern Ireland.
The Government has again denied that it is in talks with the dissidents however high ranking police and politicians believe that his may be the only way to stop the recent violent attacks.
Chief Constable Matt Baggot has said that he would in no way see communicating with the dissidents as a betrayal by the Government.
Nationalist SDLP leader, Margaret Richie, has called for a review of intelligence on the dissidents. She asked the MI5 control the intelligence and that they revert to the police.
“It is time for everyone to face up to some inconvenient political truths about this violence. It is now very clear that MI5 is not up to the task of leading intelligence-gathering in the north,” said Richie.
“The SDLP believes we need an aggressive, high-profile, all-Ireland intelligence-gathering operation based on the bond of trust which has grown between police and public.“
Baggot reitierated that while engaging in conversations with the dissidents would have to have strong conditions attached he felt that ending this violence was more than just a security issue.
He said “We are arresting and charging more than ever…But clearly there has never been a 100% intelligence picture…What we have to do is relentlessly pursue them.”
The last two week have seen multiple violent attacks in Northern Ireland where deaths have been avoided only because of good luck.
On Saturday night a bomb in a wheelie bin exploded after an unclear bomb warning to police. It is believed that the warning was an aim to lure the police in. However, they did not find the bomb and two 12-year-olds and one two-year-old were hurt in the attack.
There were also petrol bomb attacks on a police stations nearby the scene of the explosion yesterday.
Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s First Minister and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned the attacks.
Robinson said “There can be no doubt as to just how depraved and evil these criminals are. Attacking young innocent children is callous and shows a complete disregard for the people of Northern Ireland.”
In Newry, County Down there was an arson attack on local policing committee member Damian McKevitt’s car. He said “It’s obviously an attempt to intimidate and obviously a warning for me to disassociate myself from the District Policing Partnership and with the new policing dispensation,” he said.
“This will actually re-energize and reinvigorate myself and make me more vocal.”
On Sunday an event in Omagh marked the 12th anniversary of the bombing which killed 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins.
Michael Gallagher’s son, Aiden, was killed in the bombings. He said “It is just unbelievable that these people will continue to plant bombs in close proximity to where people live and shop and work.
“That makes days like this all the more difficult.”
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