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PSNI cancels jobs fair over dissident republican protest

By David Young

Published 09/10/2015

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton

Police in Londonderry have postponed a recruitment event amid fears over a planned republican protest.

Hard-line group the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) had organised a demonstration at the PSNI jobs fair in Derry's Waterfoot Hotel on Saturday. A wedding reception at the hotel was planned for the same time.

Police have now put back their recruitment event, citing fears over the couple's big day.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "A large wedding reception will be taking place at the venue on the same date, and as many people will be aware, a protest against our event has been planned.

"Those who would seek to disrupt the day have shown no thought for others.

"Out of consideration for the bride and groom, and to ensure they can fully enjoy their special day without the possibility of any disruption, we have arranged to reschedule the event."

The event will now take place at the same venue on Saturday, October 17.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell told the Belfast Telegraph last night: "I understand that this event was deferred to ensure that a wedding reception to be held in the hotel was not disrupted by protesters, and one can understand that.

"But when this recruitment event is held, the police must be seen to stand up in the face of any protests.

"Wherever the fair is held, it must be seen to go ahead, and not be cancelled in response to actions or threats from any republican group."

Last year another Derry hotel became a terrorist target after hosting a PSNI recruitment event.

The Everglades was badly damaged when a firebomb exploded in its foyer after a holdall containing the device was left at the reception by a masked man claiming to be from the IRA.

The bomb detonated as Army bomb disposal officers were working to defuse it but no one was injured. As yet, no one has been arrested over the attack.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: "It's very concerning that those who attacked the Everglades are still at large in our community. The hotel is only now fully recovered from last year's attack."

Independent councillor Gary 'Donzo' Donnelly sparked fury last year when he said the PSNI had to share "responsibility" for the Everglades bomb attack, because it had held a recruitment day there.

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