Assembly united in condemnation of 'ruthless' terrorists
Assembly parties have united to condemn the potentially deadly Londonderry attack foiled by the PSNI – and warned the public to remain alert.
Justice Minister David Ford said it was clear that those behind the intended attack had been "utterly ruthless".
"There is no question of any justification. There is no question of their having any support. It is time that they listened to voices of the people from in and around the Brandywell area whom have so eloquently condemned what went on," he said.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell warned that the city had been within five to 10 minutes of an outrage which would have cost lives.
"How major it could have been can be established by recalling that, in 1985, there was a similar mortar bomb attack on Newry police station, and nine innocent officers were murdered," the DUP MP and MLA said.
Sinn Fein's Maeve McLaughlin said the human cost of moving elderly and vulnerable residents from their homes "was stark" – but also in stark contrast to the unity of purpose "across all sectors of our city".
The SDLP's Mark H Durkan said: "There is huge relief in the city of Derry that those instruments of death and destruction were intercepted last night. Full credit and praise must go to the police for their heroic actions."
Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott said the security services signalled last week that a mortar found in Belfast had come from old Provisional IRA stock.
"I challenge people from the Provisional IRA, some of whom may now be in Sinn Fein, to bring forward the information that is required to help the security services to stop such actions," he said.
Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said: "Vile, hideous and murderous as this was, it was no more murderous than the attack on Newry police station, which some in the House still will not condemn."
And Ukip member David McNarry said: "Last night was a timely reminder to all towns and villages that they must remain vigilant and alert."