Belfast Telegraph

Minister hits out at bomb attempt

Dissident republicans suspected of planting a car bomb at a Northern Ireland courthouse were intent on causing murder and destruction, the Stormont Justice Minister has said.

David Ford hit out after police confirmed the device abandoned in Londonderry contained 50kg of homemade explosives packed into a beer keg which had been left in a stolen Vauxhall Astra.

Dozens of elderly residents were moved from a sheltered housing development in the city as a security operation was launched around the Bishop Street area after a telephone bomb warning at 6.45pm on Sunday.

Choirboys, some as young as seven, were told to get out of the nearby St Columb's Cathedral, while hearings at the courthouse have been moved to other courts.

Mr Ford said: "It is clear that those responsible for this attempted bomb attack were intent on causing murder and destruction and I wholeheartedly condemn their actions. I am very thankful that no-one was injured.

"It is particularly sad to note that it was some of the most vulnerable people in our society, children and the elderly, who were most disrupted by this incident.

"I very much welcome the co-operation from the local community during what I am sure has been an anxious time and I am confident that the people of Derry will stand in unison to condemn this attempted attack on their city."

He appealed for anyone with information on the attempted bombing to come forward to the police.

The police district commander, Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin, said dissident republicans from either the Oglaigh na hEireann or Real IRA groups were suspected to be responsible for the bomb.

He added: "Unfortunately there is no such thing as complete security. The difficulty we face is that while we have a number of people, albeit they are small in number, who are willing to set their faces against the wishes of the majority, unfortunately we will see some acts like this occur again."

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