Northern Ireland news

Justice minister brands INLA show of strength 'reckless'

An armed colour party fired shots in the air at Friday's Patsy O'Hara hunger strike commemoration in Derry.
Seamus McKinney

Justice Minister Naomi Long has described an INLA 'show of strength' in Derry as “reckless”.

Police believe up to 12 people took part in what the described as a “brazen show of strength” at a commemoration to the 40th anniversary of the death of hunger striker Patsy O’Hara.

A masked colour party fired a number of shots into the air at the commemoration on Friday close to the home of the hunger striker who was a member of the INLA.

Mrs Long said the sight of masked men brandishing weapons was a “dark and depressing hallmark” of the past.

“It beggars belief that anyone would be as reckless as to fire shots into the air near homes and where people, including young children, were standing close by.

“This was a planned and calculated act with no care whatsoever for what could have been potentially tragic consequences if any of the bullets fired had ricocheted or strayed into the crowd,” she said.

Mrs Long said there was no justification or excuse for bringing guns onto the streets.

The minister appealed to anyone with information about the incident to contact police.

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Northern Ireland news