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Thursday 19 September 2019

'No support, no place and no justification' - politicians unite in condemnation

  

Trouble: PSNI road block in Co Fermanagh, 3km from the scene
Trouble: PSNI road block in Co Fermanagh, 3km from the scene
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Politicians from all sides united to hit out at the "cowardly" actions of those responsible for the bomb explosion close to the Border yesterday morning.

The device exploded close to Wattle Bridge, in Co Fermanagh, close to the Border with Co Cavan, just after 10.30am after a bomb disposal expert had defused a separate device.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said those behind the bomb were "cowardly" and urged anyone with any information about the explosion to provide it to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

"I strongly condemn the cowardly actions of those responsible for this bomb attack, which could have had devastating consequences," Mr Varadkar said in a statement.

"There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims.

"The people of Ireland, North and south, had their say on this issue when they voted overwhelmingly and emphatically for the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is a considerable relief that no PSNI officers were seriously injured or killed when this bomb went off.

"We should be in no doubt that this device was intended to inflict maximum harm."

Despicable

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said terrorism and bombing have "no support, no place and no justification ever".

Business Minister Heather Humphreys, whose constituency borders Fermanagh, said it was a "despicable and cowardly act" that "brings back memories of dark days for communities in Newtownbutler and Clones areas". Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the bombing was "a despicable act perpetrated by persons with no regard for law, order or democratic principles".

In the North, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith said he was following developments and commended "the bravery of police and others working to keep us safe".

DUP leader Arlene Foster also condemned the attack and hit out at the threat of dissident republicans whom the PSNI identified as likely being responsible for the attack.

"We need to demonstrate as a society that we will not be bowed or broken by the threat of violence.

"My father's generation did not cede way to violence and for the sake of the next generation, we must not either," she said.

"Today serves as another reminder of the bravery of our security forces, who put on a uniform to protect the entire community from harm.

"My thoughts are with the police officers and ATOs who escaped injury in Wattle Bridge. The bombers are opportunists who want nothing more than to cause fear and destruction. They will not be allowed to succeed."

Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew condemned those responsible.

"Those responsible for this incident have nothing to offer society and need to end these actions immediately," Ms Gildernew said.

Dolores Kelly, SDLP MLA and Policing Board member, paid tribute to the officers at the scene and said the board would be meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable later this week.

"We'll be raising the security threat in Border communities as an urgent matter," she said.

Irish Independent

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