Leading article

Huge concern over attack on PSNI officer

Police and army bomb disposal experts pictured dealing with the object believed to have been attached underneath a car that had been driven into Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast

There will be enormous relief that no one was injured during the weekend attempt to murder an off duty police officer at a Belfast golf club and also huge concern that dissident republicans may be stepping up their evil activities.

It was extremely fortunate that the bomb left under a car at the Shandon Park club close to PSNI headquarters in the east of the city was spotted and, after a major security operation, made safe.

The device could easily have killed the officer and anyone else in the vicinity of the car park beside the course which was crowded with Saturday morning golfers.

There had been some short-lived hopes that the appalling murder of 29-year-old Lyra McKee as she observed a riot in Derry six weeks ago might have prompted militant republicans to review their campaign.

However, the Shandon Park incident demonstrated that the small group of extremists remains as reckless and ruthless as ever and intends to ignore the massive wave of public outrage which followed the death of Ms McKee.

All the attacks which have taken place on police officers down the decades were equally repugnant, and it is despicable that young men and women who come forward to serve the entire community are still being viciously targeted.

The people of Ireland from all traditions have used the ballot box to demonstrate their overwhelming rejection of the use of violence in connection with any cause.

Progress in any direction will only be achieved through constitutional means and there can never be any justification for deliberately setting out to murder another human being.

Dissident republicans need to recognise the will of the people and finally accept that they have many options other than turning to the bomb and the bullet.

If they do not, they deserve to be brought before the courts, and our police services on both sides of the border must be given every possible assistance in the pursuit of their duties in this regard.

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