Northern Ireland news

Fire bomb could have killed police woman and her daughter

Police remained at the scene of the attempted bombing near Dungiven throughout yesterday, Tuesday. Picture by Pacemaker.
Seamus McKinney

An incendiary bomb left beside the car of a part time PSNI officer could have killed both the police woman who was targeted and her three-year-old daughter, it has been claimed.

The part-time officer – who is also a civilian worker with the PSNI – found the device in a bag beside her car as she left her home around two miles from Dungiven on Monday morning. The area around the Ballyquin Road house, where the young police officer and her family have lived for many years remained closed off throughout Monday and yesterday.

An explosive device attached to a container of flammable liquid, the bomb would have caused a fireball, engulfing anyone nearby had it exploded, according to PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, Mark McEwan. Police believed dissident republican group, the New IRA was behind the attack.

He said the child’s seat was in the car and the terror group would have been aware of it.

It was also revealed yesterday that the DUP recently met police on two occasions to highlight concerns that dissident republicans were exerting greater influence in the wider Limavady/Dungiven area. The party claimed that dissidents were extending their activities to rural areas because of a police clampdown in Derry.

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ACC McEwan said: “What is really distressing here is the terrorists placed the bomb at the rear of the car, directly at the point where the victim’s three-year-old daughter sits.”

A viable device has been left at the home of a female police officer near Dungiven. PACEMAKER 

The Assistant Chief Constable said dissident republicans had no concern at all for those who were killed or harmed by their attacks.

“It’s time for people to examine their own conscience and ask themselves whether they support groups who are attempting to kill a three-year-old child and her mother,” he said.

The attack has been widely condemned. First Minister, Arlene Foster described the bomb attempt as “shameful and vile”.

Mrs Foster, who spoke to the officer, said: “People across Northern Ireland will unite in agreement that this barbarity has no place in today’s society and that this dark and sinister agenda is a thing of the past, not our future.”

Deputy First Minister, Michele O’Neill said those responsible showed a “callous disregard” for the entire community.

“They seek only to drag our communities backwards; they have no place in our society and they should disband,” she said.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin tweeted: “Deeply reprehensible and cowardly attack on the home of a police officer in Northern Ireland last night. Politicians across this island must work together to avoid a return to the dark days of fear and terror.”

Justice Minister Naomi Long described the attack as “despicable and cowardly”. She said those who “sneaked around in the dark” to plant the bomb showed disregard for both the police officer and anyone living nearby.

SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood said the cowardice of those responsible stood in contrast to the courage and compassion of police officers who kept communities safe.

“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 have overwhelmingly endorsed peace,” Mr Eastwood said.

The attack was also condemned by Ulster Unionist leader, Steve Aiken who said there should be no hiding place for those who sought to murder police officers or use violence in pursuit of any politcial objective.

Chairman of the Police Federation, Mark Lindsay said there were people in the community who knew who planted the device.

“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 these culprits,” Mr Lindsay said.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said it was being treated as "an attack" on a part-time police officer. PACEMAKER

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