PSNI officer targeted in ‘reckless’ bomb attack

The scene of a security alert on the Ballyquin Road close to Dungiven
The scene of a security alert on the Ballyquin Road close to Dungiven
14:20pm, Tue 20 Apr 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

A viable explosive device has been found close to the home of a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in Co Londonderry.

The woman targeted is a member of staff who also serves as a part-time police officer.

The device was found outside her home in a rural area close to Dungiven.

A security operation has been ongoing since Monday on the Ballyquin Road since the discovery of the device.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said: “I can confirm that the device is viable and investigations are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.

“We are treating this as an attack on a member of staff who also serves her community as a part-time police officer.”

Chief Constable Simon Byrne tweeted: “I strongly condemn this outrageous attack on our Officer and her family.

“Every day @PoliceServiceNI officers and staff bravely step up to serve the community and this attempt to harm is a stark reminder of the challenges still facing us all.”

Mark Lindsay, chair of the police representative body, the Police Federation, said it is “appalling the officer was singled out in this manner”.

“Her dedication to serving the community is in stark contrast to those involved in this attack, whose only purpose is to wreck lives,” he said.

“There are people in this community who know who planned this attack and placed this potentially lethal device under an officer’s car. They must realise there is nothing to be gained by such attacks and I would call on them to give the police the information they need to capture the culprits.”

First Minister Arlene Foster has blamed dissident republicans for the bomb attack.

“I stand, as does my entire party, with the brave woman targeted by republicans and utterly condemn those who have sought to harm her and her family,” she said.

“I do give thanks that she has survived this dreadful murder attempt and when I spoke to this lady earlier, I gave her my prayerful support and indeed solidarity at this difficult time.

“To the republicans who sought to murder this young mother, your campaign is futile, you will never succeed and whilst there may always be different political views in Northern Ireland, we will keep moving forward and we will not be dragged back by bombers or those who would seek to use the gun to get their own political way.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill added: “The attempted murder of a police officer near Dungiven is reprehensible.

“Those involved in this attack will not succeed in their regressive and toxic agenda.

“All politicians must unite against these reckless actions. We must keep building the peace for our children.”

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said: “The attempted murder of this police officer is absolutely abhorrent.

“I completely condemn the actions of those involved. Those who try to attack public servants have nothing to offer the communities they claim to represent.

“I want to convey my support for the officer concerned.”

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney tweeted: “I completely condemn this despicable attack on a police officer near Dungiven.

“Our thoughts. solidarity and support go to her, her family and her PSNI colleagues. Anyone with information should assist with PSNI investigation.”

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken also tweeted his condemnation.

“This cowardly attempt on the life of someone who is courageously putting her selflessness to the good of all of our community must be utterly condemned by all – there must be no place for terrorism in our society.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood slammed the attack as an “appalling attempt to murder a young woman who stood up and chose to serve her community”.

“Violence in pursuit of political goals has never been endorsed by the people of this island,” he said.

“Those who are waging a campaign of violence against members of our community need to understand, and we need to make them understand, that they are not in a fight with the PSNI or with Britain, they have chosen a fight with the people of Ireland who overwhelmingly endorsed peace. It is a fight that they will never win.”

Alliance MLA John Blair added his condemnation.

“This attack was not just on this officer but on the entire community,” he said.

“It was entirely possible we could be standing here today talking about the death or serious injury of a police officer, someone who has decided to serve the entire community, or indeed members of the public. It is vital all in politics and public life offer their full support to police at this time.”

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