Belfast Telegraph

Paterson condemns bomb attacks

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has condemned last week's bomb attacks in Londonderry, branding them "completely incomprehensible".

Speaking during Commons Northern Ireland questions, Social Democratic and Labour Party MP Mark Durkan said the "overwhelming majority" of citizens of Derry "absolutely deplore and resent the acts of civic sabotage... by the dissidents".

Two explosions in Londonderry forced elderly residents to leave their sheltered accommodation on Thursday.

Homes and businesses in the city centre were also evacuated after police received two telephone bomb warnings shortly after 7.30pm.

Nobody was injured by the blasts shortly after 8pm close to a tourist office and DHSS premises in a busy centre for nightlife and shopping. Dissident republicans were blamed by politicians.

Mr Paterson replied: "I wholly sympathise with his thoughts on behalf of his constituents. The attacks last week were completely incomprehensible to any sane person.

"Elderly people in a home, disadvantaged young people in a home, were at real risk and I would like to pay full tribute to the incredible bravery and professionalism of those PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) officers that led the evacuation."

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Vernon Coaker also labelled the attacks "reckless and futile".

He said: "Last week saw the inspirational launch of an exciting tourist initiative for Northern Ireland, NI 2012.

"When so much work is being done by so many people to create a better future, does the Secretary of State agree with me that last week's bomb attacks in Derry, Londonderry were reckless and futile."

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