Critically injured PSNI Constable Peadar Heffron was spied on for weeks, or even months, by dissident republicans before they attempted to murder him with an under-car, booby-trap bomb, police in the North believe.
The 33-year-old, who is captain of the PSNI’s GAA team, is still fighting for his life in hospital after the device exploded as he drove from his home in Randalstown to work in west Belfast last Friday morning.
Police sources have said detectives believe it was a well-organised attack. One source said: “We believe they would have been watching him closely for several weeks, if not months, to get to know his routine.
“People in the area may have unwittingly passed by them so it is important people come forward with any information they may have, even if they did not think it was important at the time.”
As dissident republicans attempt to take advantage of the deepening political instability at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alliance Party leader David Ford yesterday said the Robinson saga shouldn’t turn people’s attention away from the security situation.
“The key way in which as an Assembly we can act against the dissidents is by showing that politics works, showing that we can deliver for our people, by demonstrating good governance. Petty squabbles and childish stand-offs do nothing to advance the needs of this community,” he said.
“Peadar Heffron is exactly the sort of officer this society needs. He joined the Police Service of Northern Ireland in its early days, well before it was easy for someone of his background.”