Belfast Telegraph

Politicians unite to condemn dissident gun attack on Fermanagh police

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

The bravery and determination of police officers has been praised after a gun attack.

Police confirmed they were investigating reports that shots were fired at Lisnaskea PSNI station in Co Fermanagh.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for the attack. It is understood the station came under attack from automatic gunfire after 8pm on Monday but there were no reports of any injuries.

Chairman of the Police Federation Terry Spence told the Belfast Telegraph it was a cowardly attempt to murder police officers.

He said: "It's deeply worrying to our rank-and-file. But we are absolutely determined that terrorism will not succeed and it shows the tenacity of our officers that they were out on patrol in that area immediately after the gun attack took place.

"That should send a clear signal to anyone engaged in terrorism that the police are absolutely determined that the law will prevail and terrorism will never succeed. They will be vigilant and alert and they will be up for any of the difficulties that they face in the coming days and weeks of the Christmas period. And we are absolutely determined that these people will never win."

Mr Spence said he had discussed the "escalating threat" over the last weeks with the Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

"Because of the geographical spread of the terrorism the police will be more overtly present and the public will see them by way of police officers operating vehicle checkpoints," he said.

There was widespread condemnation of the attack. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "The attack on the Police Service at Lisnaskea must be condemned. The Irish people support peace and reject this stupid, dangerous and futile act."

Justice Minister David Ford said: "Those who tried to kill police officers in Lisnaskea are to be condemned They have nothing positive to offer."

The Police Federation said terrorism will never triumph.

It tweeted: "Officers escape death when dissident republicans attack Lisnaskea station with gunfire. Cowardly and futile. Terrorism will never prevail."

UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tom Elliott (left) called it a ruthless act of terrorism.

He said: "I unreservedly condemn the attack on Lisnaskea police station and am thankful that PSNI officers and civilians weren't injured or killed in this ruthless act of terrorism.

"Once again republican terrorists have shown that they have nothing to offer the people of Northern Ireland but pain and suffering. They are driven by warped ideology and bloodlust."

UUP Policing Board member Ross Hussey MLA added: "When most families are coming together to celebrate Christmas, these terrorists' actions have once again shown the hollowness of their cause."

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