Northern Ireland news

Call for support for trade union rally in Derry after car bomb

Saturday night's car bomb attack at Derry's Bishop Street courthouse was captured by CCTV footage. Photograph by PSNI/PA Wire
Seamus McKinney

THERE have been calls for support for a rally organised by trade union Nipsa to protest at last weekend's dissident republican car bomb in Derry.

The demonstration will take place at the Peace Garden beside the city's Guildhall at 1pm tomorrow. A similar rally has been organised for Enniskillen the following day at 3pm by the Fermanagh Council of Trade Unions.

As the fall-out from Saturday's courthouse bomb and a wave of dissident hijackings on Monday continued, police last night said they had recovered a suspected firearm during follow-up searches.

A statement from PSNI Foyle said: "In relation to the bomb attack on Saturday evening police have been conducting follow-up searches in the Brandywell area of the city.

"As a result police have located suspected firearm.

"The recovery of this item will require a public safety operation but we will seek to keep this to minimum to avoid disruption."

Both the Housing Executive and Royal Mail yesterday confirmed they have resumed all services in Derry.

The organisations suspended operations in parts of the city after vans had been hijacked.

In the most serious hijacking, masked and armed men placed a suspicious object in the back of a Housing Executive van on Monday.

It was later declared a hoax after a controlled explosion.

Despite the resumption of most services, Tesco yesterday confirmed it has suspended all deliveries on Derry's west bank.

A spokesman said the move was a precautionary measure and the company hoped to reinstate deliveries as soon as possible.

Nipsa president Patrick Mulholland said tomorrow's rally is in protest at paramilitarism, sectarianism and repression.

“Those who carried out Saturday's bombing in Derry aim to drag us back into futile conflict and bloodshed. Their actions achieve nothing but whipping up sectarian tension and potentially legitimising attacks on democratic rights. The bombing put the lives of ordinary people at risk, including Nipsa members,” he said.

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion called on the Derry public to support the rally.

She was speaking after a meeting of the city's Unity of Purpose group, representing stakeholders, statutory agencies and elected representatives.

“There is a huge degree of anger and frustration at the bomb attack in Bishop Street at the weekend followed by a series of alerts which caused so much disruption and upset to the people of this city," she said.

“This was compounded by the fact that a number of key services, including transport, postal and housing maintenance were suspended due to the threats, causing more hardship to local communities."

Meanwhile, dissident republican political group Saoradh has revealed that a number of its members were arrested and later released following the bomb.

A spokesman said some media reports had speculated that it shared political interpretations with those behind the attack.

“As is demonstratable from our publicly available constitution, Saoradh is an autonomous revolutionary socialist party that has collective leadership, transparency, accountability and unrivalled internal democracy," it said.

“Saoradh does not or will not come under the control or influence of any other organisation, armed or otherwise."

The group also claimed a Twitter post issued after Saturday's bomb was misinterpreted.

Saoradh said in the tweet that the attack was on the eve of the centenary of the Soloheadbeg ambush which marked the start of the Irish War of Independence.

It said it did not give this as a reason for the attack.

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